Self-Occupation and Self-Judgment

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Many confound self-occupation with self-judgment, and seeing self-judgment to be right (when we fail), are found asking themselves where the one ends, and where the other begins. A word or two on these may help, if the Lord permits.
Self-occupation is the bane of the soul. Man makes himself the center, and himself the chief object upon earth. This is self-occupation. It lands him in that place “where their worm dieth not, and where the fire is not quenched.” The end of all self-occupation is death.
Self-judgment is the work of the Spirit of God. It is not His proper work, but it is often, from our want of watchfulness, His necessary work. There is no way of return to the joy of communion without it. Self-judgment, though right in its place, is not communion; on the contrary, it is the confession that communion is lost. But it is the only way back; it is medicine, but not food.
For me to live daily with self being ignored is the highest Christian condition. Here the Spirit of God is free to carry on His proper work in my soul, to take Christ and put Him before me as my food. Here the soul is free to be occupied by and for Christ alone. It says, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). It is the only right state for food. And food is the soul’s appropriation of Christ, and feeding upon Him as ministered by the Spirit. He alone is the “bread of life that came down from heaven”; as John 6:56 says, “He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him.” This verse is not about having done so once by faith. That is in verse 51 and is of first importance. Food is the daily need of the man, and it is here his daily habit to feed. But how important to see that self-occupation is not food and self-judgment is not food, for how can I live or grow without food?
What then is self-occupation? It is a human being, a worm of the earth in God’s sight, a particle of dust, forgetting or ignoring the fact of GOD and ETERNITY; one who says, “Let us eat and drink: for tomorrow we die,” and to whom God says, “Thou fool!” (1 Cor. 15:32; Luke 12:20).
What is self-judgment? It is looking at yourself (note it well), not in contrast with other saints, but in contrast with Christ, the perfect, heavenly Man.
And what is self-ignored? It is the forgetting that there is a self, through preoccupation with the perfect One, with Christ alone. This will be our eternal occupation in heaven, when there will be no “self” to mar our vision, or to call for judgment. But it begins on earth; it begins, though harassed on every hand, in a poor earthen vessel, “that the excellency of the power may be” seen to be “of God, and not of us” (2 Cor. 4:7).
H. C. Anstey (adapted)