Saturday, July 04, 2009

Altar Ego

I've made no secret of the fact that I've made my life's mission statement the words of John the Baptist found in the Book of John, Chapter Three, Verse Thirty: "He must become more, I must become less."

I try to remind myself of this as often as I can ... it's on my car's license plate, I put it on the end of every Friday's post, it's on my Facebook Profile (Info Tab), it's always hovering close by my thoughts, in a "What Would Jesus Do" kind of way, if you'll allow me that rapidly-becoming-tired cliché.

And yet, like Paul, I "do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." (Romans 7:15)

It seems to me that Christianity is a constant process of intentionally making the effort to become more like Christ. To constantly be at war with our flesh and what it desires. To deny our baser natures and seek after "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable." (Philippians 4:8)

So the war with myself goes on. I found this struggle captured almost perfectly by a Canadian woman named Carolyn Arends, on one of her earlier CDs titled "I Can Hear You." It's a song called "Altar of Ego" and there is not a word wasted in this lyric. Every one strikes the heart of the matter. At least with me.

I am talking too loud when there's so much I should be hearing
I am walking too proud when I know a fall is nearing
I am thinking too much for someone who knows so little
I am spinning so fast, I’m landing in the middle
Of this cold familiar place where I struggle to save face
And I lose all of the things that matter

I don’t want to be here again
Bowed at the altar of ego
I’ve sacrificed most everything
Here at the altar of ego
The altar of ego

I’ve got just four friends I will let advise me
Me, myself, and I and the evil twin inside me
We talk each other up and we bring each other down
‘Cause there’s nothing we like more than the ever present sound
Of the voice inside my head, once again it’s led
To losing all the things that matter

(Repeat chorus)

I need a touch of love, I need a thrust of grace
A push, a shove, a slap in the face

I have gazed too long at the person in the mirror
As I turn away, I’m finding things are clearer
I will set my sights on Someone so much higher
Not on what I want, but on what I require
To travel to the place where at last I can embrace
All the things that really matter

(Repeat chorus)

© 1995 Sunday Shoes Music (ASCAP)

May your struggles be easier.

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