Turn Self into Elf
Subtract S from Self and you’ll have Elf!
Why Elf you might ask? It’s lest room for Self!
I am aware that some might want to take time to tell me elf is not of God. Got it; but neither is Self! Or is it?
Ruth Paxson list some self-isms in her book, “Life on the Highest Plane; “Self-will, self-centeredness, Self-assertion, Self-depreciation, Self-conceit, Self-love, Self-indulgence, Self-pleasing, Self-seeking, Self-pity, Self-sensitiveness, Self-trust, Self-sufficiency, Self-exaltation, Self-righteousness, and Self-glorifying” among many other big S’s.
Turn Self into Elf
Subtract S from Self and you’ll have Elf!
Why Elf you might ask? It’s lest room for Self!
Are these self-ism healthy? What about Elf?
20 thoughts on “Turn Self into Elf”
I suppose “elf” is a miniature character and some synonyms describing it are “peewee, shrimp, pygmy, miniature, mini, little, small, tiny” (Roget’s Int.Thesaurus) All these synonyms indicate smallness & diminution. So if SELF is diminished, as you say, to ELF, that is an indication that there could be a diminishment in our big SELF which does take up less room on the page in the written word and maybe less time having SELF on our minds and perhaps leaving more room to think about God, others’ needs, reading of the Word, praying and doing good deeds.
The less we think about our SELVES, the less SELF-ish we can become.
Is “self-ism” healthy. Part of the Fruit of the Spirit is SELF-CONTROL Obviously. God knows we need to keep SELF under control or it will war against the Spirit life in us. So, Self can be healthy if it is under control of the Holy Spirit and kept captive to the Word of God. But SELF-ishness run amok will destroy the God life in us every time.
Hazel Morris was a good example of an “elf” of a woman. She considered not her own needs, wants and desires. She interceded by the Holy Spirit when she sensed in the Spirit that someone was in need of prayer. She ministered wisdom and understanding and good counsel. Not for her own profit but for her contribution of love to the Body of Christ that she so dearly loved and longed after.
Hazel was a little “elf” but a great saint in the KINGDOM OF JESUS CHRIST.
I was reading some commentary on Elves (fictional races that J. R. R. Tolkien writes about in his books) on an online dictionary and found this comment interesting, ….”Tolkien saw Elves as human beings prior to the original sin”… “(it is specifically told that not a single Elf joined Morgoth or Sauron, the Enemies)”.
Now this description of elf seems much more ‘of God’ than the self-sins Sara lists above. For allegorically, Tolkien’s Elves to me suggest those who are not ruled by the sinful, fallen nature but by the Lord.
So I say elf is healthy but add the ‘s’ (which sounds like the hiss of the serpent itself) and self is deadly.
The Elves: Romans 8:4 …”who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit” .
The Selves: Romans 7:5 “For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.”
That’s good, Debi. SSS_self and SSS-sin and SSS-satan and SSS-serpent all have that hissing sound, don’t they! Could that be the sound of an ego’s being inflated or is it the sound of the Spirit being deflated and dismissed from a soul?
In the mythological “Santa’s workshop”, little elves work ceaselessly and self-lessly creating marvelous treasures for little girls and boys. So maybe the elf theory may not have as many adverse connotations as one would consider at the upstart.
Great thoughts. Always found “Tolkien: most interesting!
I would like to quote one of Ruth Paxon’s definition of self. Self-conceit–“lives so much to himself that he does not know how big the world is in which he lives and how many other really intelligent people there are in it, so he has little regard for the opinions of others, especially if contrary to his own. He looks with proud and supercilious pity upon those less favored and gifted than himself.”
And, another one of Ruth’s self-indulgence, “eats, drinks, and is merry. For him to want anything is equivalent to having it. He pampers and coddles himself, he can even indulge his extravagant, fleshly appetites while others starve to death before his eyes.”
from Debi’s comment…. luv it! ”Tolkien saw Elves as human beings prior to the original sin”… “(it is specifically told that not a single Elf joined Morgoth or Sauron, the Enemies)”.
John (the Baptist) got it right in John 3:30, read with me…”He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” (NLT) Footnotes: “John’s willingness to decrease in importance shows unusual humility. Pastors and other Christian leaders can be tempted to focus more on the success of their ministries than on Christ. Beware of those who put more emphasis on their own achievements than on God’s Kingdom.”
(Thank you, Sara, (for e-mailing me) the location of where this scripture was in the Bible)
Needles, this unusual humility, the opposite of self-exaltation that Sara writes about above, must be a mark of true ‘elfism’. Jesus had that servant attitude and expects us to have it also. The following scripture says to me that by growing ‘smaller’, we become ‘taller’ or by learning to bow down we will one day have a crown…to lay at His feet.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself
and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place…” Phil 2:3-9
Could someone be operating in self but think they are operating in elfishness? They out of a youthful oppression through a coping mechanism think they are serving or being a peace keeper and they are really a doormat for personalities that are not of God or they are stomping on others themselves? The reason I ask this is in my study of “Stepping Up” by Beth Moore she says that “People oppressed from youth often grow up to let strong personalities walk all over them. In the scripture it says as Beth quoted Isaiah 51: 22-23 …They make your back like the ground, like a street to be walked over. She goes on to say that we should learn to offer people our love and not our backs. That Christ took the scourging so we as rightful recipients of such agony, could instead receive dignity, And by His stripes we are healed.” Thus I gather that operating ithrough coping mechanism, self, is not appropriate and that we have to look to God knowing that in Isaiah 49:25 says “I will contend with those who contend with you.” Beth Moore goes onto say, “If we give our backs to Him (God) rather than to others, if we’ll take Him at His Word, He’ll sow His seed into those furrows. (Psalms 129) In time, an oak of righteousness will grow, “a planting of the Lord for the display of his spendor” (Isa. 61:3, NIV). Its branches will give hope to the hurting, shade to the children, and aggravation to the Devil. A seed is always sown in the furrow. Do we want the seed just mentioned by being elfish – looking to God – or the opposite a seed of self – a seed of bitterness or other deplorable seeds?
Rena, a very raw subject you have approached with many facets to cope with. As Needles quoted John The Baptist, he knew the hope for healing. He, John, would have to decrease so Jesus, the Christ could increase. It sure is hard, but not impossible to dethrone old habits and ideas.
It seems if a ‘new idea’ shows… old man groans. Maybe an old idea to us but new at the moment to one(s) we are in relationship with, and ‘old man’ fesses up showing our ???Self. How we yearn at times for healthy interacting with others, but fail to realize Self- the old man holds the reins preventing a full gallop (healthy interacting) so everyone once again ‘trots out’ the old (man).
Hum…………..this makes one wonder if self FESSES UP and ‘dethrones the old ideas and habits’, then over time, it just may not FESTER UP…….like a boil??
Sara, this goes right back to your teachings on face it, admit it (fess up) and change it.
Sara I love your analogy about self and horses. Thouroughbred race horses are my favorites.
I think ‘Self’ is one of two kinds of jockeys: either a dishonest jockey that ‘fixes’ the race by holding his horse back so another can win ($$$involved in this practice); or a cowardly, unskilled rider (or hard-headed, rebellious rider who didn’t listen to the trainer’s instructions) that gets his horse in a situation so that another horse cuts him off and he has to pull back (the reins). Either way, when the race is over and he pulls up to a trot in front of the shouting crowd in the grandstand, he is a loser…he has lost the race.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”
“You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” Gal 5:7-9
Sara, I’ve been thinking about self and elf. When I think of self focus, I think of negative things. If someone is focused on one self, they will never be happy. Self focus can lead to depression and even suicide. Self is full of flesh and sin. When one allows Jesus to come into their life, He will take the “S” out of Self. Leaving us with Elf. We become Elfs of Christ. Working steady, thinking of others, being obedient, always giving to others, building the foundations of salvation… Until the big day. Until the day the Lord takes us home. Elfs for Christ steady at work…….
Hey Chickenfarmer, interesting concept and info you have given us. All the more reason to turn self into elf.
Chickenfarmer, your comments on self-focus reminded me of The Daily Lily Retreat #1 with Sara’s teaching “The Dance of Healing”. She used a quote by Dr. Karl Menninger in which he responds to the question, “What would you advise a person to do if that person felt a nervous breakdown coming on?” Dr. Menninger replied, ““Lock up your house, go across the railroad tracks, find somebody in need, and help that person.”
So in telling us not to focus on ourself but on helping someone else, we become the elf.
You got it Debi and Sara. Lock up your house, put on your elf hat and go help someone.
I see a lot of other selfs in our blog. If we are not careful we could even make our doing self-indulgence. If we would all break down the selfs above we might find more self than we want. Our helping should be monitored as well as all things.
How about self-will? I would only imagine that we all have big stories to make us believe we have no self ideas or actions.
A plethora of introspection in an attempt to dislodge all the SELF issues in one’s Christian walk might just aggravate the situation even more, that one faces about one’s SELF. This is prompted, somewhat, by Sara’s remark about “If we are not carful we could even make our DOING self indulgent. Good point. Monitor it by the Holy Spirit, in each situation so that satan cannot get the advantage. Like Debi wrote, “a little yeast leaveneth the whole lump.” (Gal. 5:7)
By studying and understanding the word of God and teaching and helping others does not need to take us into a gluttonous amount of introspection in one’s own life.
The self life is open for all to see. It does help to understand the meaning of the words. I have so enjoyed Ruth Paxon’s teaching over many years and often go back to refer to her definitions of the “old man-self life.” I gave from her list in this blog and gave two of her definitions in my comments.
I think we have an excellent example of doing given my Hazel Morris’ family (Hazel’s Tribute) member when they said, she gave and we did not go hungry. We had clothes to wear. Aunt Hazel made sure of this. They were from a family of 14 and left by their father and now grown children giving the credit to Hazel and I believe God is now giving her great credit and the ones in heaven are rejoicing @her homecoming and we are rejoicing with her home going.
I pray and hope to live the life of the new man-spirit life and not that old nature that just may not feed the hungry and cloth the naked and give and bless and love and hope and look for the coming of Jesus Christ to return to earth again.
Interestingly, shortly after Sara posted ELF/SELF, I was reading Amos 6 in the Message Bible. Amos had a Word of the Lord to His people Israel. “Woe to those who live only for today….Indifferent to the fate and plight of others. Woe to thsoe OBSESSED with looking good, feeling good, life without pain and wrinkles”..and nothing more. They could not care less about their nation going to ruin before their eyes.” In chapter 5 the Lord cries out…””I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang only for ME, TO ME!”
This is kind of scary. I know that the Lord wants us to be joyful and be blessed as HE has greatly blessed His people of the WORD. But He is looking for (S)elf-less people who consider the poor, the lost and the weak just as they consider their own families and the blessings HE has showered on us.
Gary taught from the Word that we are created unto good works guided and applied to by the Holy Spirit, that glorious PERSON of the the Blessed Trinity.
I think, sometimes, a selfish life is deceptive. It deceives our own SELVES into thinking we are doing well and right and taking care of business which we should do without neglecting the more important issues. Jesus says in Matthew 23:23….”Woe to you …pretenders, for you tithe your “mint and cumin” but neglect and omit the weightier , more important matters of the Word…righteousness and mercy and fidelity and faithfulness. These you ought to have done particularly without neglecting the others.
What is the answer for us who live a blessed by the Lord life? Search His heart out. Gary and Sara say in their teachings, consult the Holy Spirit on what He would have us do. Is there a need we missed that we could so easily have met? Is there a small token, or a big one….or some word or action that might bring comfort and solace to someone who is hurting…is there a deed that the LORD is looking for one of us to do for Him in His plan to bring someone into salvation? He’s looking to us to have compassion as HE has compassion. Where are we looking?