The struggle of the Christian man to be good while the bent toward self-assertion still lives within him as a kind of unconscious moral reflex is vividly described by the apostle Paul in the seventh chapter of his Roman Epistle; and his testimony is in full accord with the teaching of the Prophets. Eight hundred years before the advent of Christ the prophet Isaiah identified sin as a rebellion against the will of God and the assertion of the right of each man to choose for himself the way he should go. "All we like sheep have gone astray," he said, "we have turned everyone to his own way," and I believe that no more accurate description of sin has ever been given.
The witness of the saints has been in full harmony with prophet and apostle, that an inward principle of self lies at the source of human conduct, turning everything men do into evil. To save us completely Christ must reverse the bent of our nature; He must plant a new principle within us so that our subsequent conduct will spring out of a desire to promote the honor of God and the good of our fellow men.
I know that was a long quote, but it was a good one. I thought about just putting up the one phrase, "...an inward principle of self lies at the source of human conduct, turning everything men do into evil." But I wanted to get the whole thing so you could see it in context.
That phrase struck a chord with me. I don't think we realize how important this is in our modern world. We have begun to "take some time for my self" and we have felt that it was important to "build self-esteem". This promotion of self has even crept into our "christian" counseling.
Just think about this quote. If it is true, then it would not be self-assertion leading us to healing, it could only be a "denial of self" that could bring us to the place that we need to be, and aren't those the exact words of Jesus? Are we not to deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow Him?