We human beings have a propensity to sin, to go against by our own free will the directives of the Lord God. “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” (Romans 1:20)
Look at the last part of that verse, “even his eternal power and Godhead,” this truth does not mean the visible creation that all can see, the earth and all that is in it, the heavens, universe or even the innumerable different species of life that exists, it means the inner knowledge that there is a Creator behind the creation. But, as human beings are, Romans 1:25 fits each of us, “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”
The creature worshipped the most of course is self, we will lift up those we admire for whatever traits we find admirable in them, even to the point of not only following them, but defending them, but the foundation of worship has always been self in this respect. Would we lift them up if they did not evoke some positive emotional response from us? Of course not.
This is the pride of life, this is the iniquity that led to Satan’s downfall, this is why Adam harkened to the voice of his wife, this is the foundation of sin, self.
“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3) “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20) We cannot serve Christ if we do not die to self, and the verses just offered shows the truth that we are dead to sin. “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:14)
The sins that we commit are always against the will of the Most High, and each of them we perform we do with the knowledge that we are being disobedient against His will. These truths do not enter into the minds of the unsaved, their lives are devoted to self, they always have been, just as your life once was. The real question is this, why do you attempt to live that holy life commanded in 1 Peter 1:16, because it is a commandment, because you fear the chastisement of the Lord, because you love Him, or for the reason of self, so that you will be seen as “holy.”
If you are concerned with what others think of you, is it for the reason of self, or because you are an ambassador of the kingdom of heaven, and you desire to perform that function solely for the glory of God?
We have a bad habit of attempting to live up to the expectations of others, but not much of one when it comes to living up to the expectations of the Lord. When you were in school, you were taught certain things, and then informed that on a day in the future there would be a test on that subject matter, and you would receive either a passing or failing grade in accordance to your answers. If you passed, you received within yourself a positive emotional response, if not, a negative one.
I offer you this verse, and when you read it, pay very close attention to your emotional response to it. “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:12) Was it negative or positive?
Your answer will tell you much about yourself in these two respects, are you living for self, or for Christ? If you are serving Jesus Christ for the glory of God to the best of your abilities, you felt joy when you read that verse, not in the manner that you can’t wait to tell Him all that you did for Him, that would be foolish, for He already knows, and it was He who enabled you to do those works in the first place, but because you are one of His, the glory is His, and He is the reason you are there in the first place.
If your response to that verse brought upon you a negative feeling, one of trepidation, then that needs to be stifled, for you are loved.
The Lord has called us to be holy, when we submit to His will in our lives and willingly serve with an open and acceptive nature to His calling, we begin to become what we will be, holy.
The death of self does not happen overnight, and God will not kill it, you must. This is called being sanctified, it is the path we are on, and it leads to an accounting that we look forward to with the full assurance that the One we will give that account to loves us without measure.
His will, through us, that is how self dies.