Talking about the Self Life is a difficult thing to do, because there are teachings that sound very righteous and holy, which basically say that anything connected to your humanity is the Self Life and must be crucified. Any desire, any dream, even your own gifting is something essentially contaminated and needs to be killed to get on with your Christian life. I’ve seen this interpretation cripple many earnest followers of Jesus, and I’ve seen it turn away many possible seekers. That is not how God feels about your humanity.
Why would your Father say things like he will give you the desires of your heart, and please protect your heart because it is the spring of life in you, if what he wanted you to do was kill your desires and dreams? Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4 NIV) Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Prov 4:23 NIV) In the chapter on kindness we saw that Jesus never said we’re supposed to hate ourselves, for how can we love our neighbor as ourselves if we hate ourselves? (The way you treat your heart is the way you will treat everyone else’s.) Jesus always handled broken and misguided people graciously and with a view towards their restoration. The Incarnation itself ought to remove every doubt that God loves and cherishes your humanity, because he took on humanity himself in order to redeem yours. Your personhood is not the problem; the issue is who is at the helm? What is fueling and motivating your faculties? Who gets to drive the bus?
When we let Self rule, it obscures our awareness of God, thwarts our ability to receive him. And the Self Life is a crushing burden to bear.
For the Self was never meant to be master, and when we make it so, we fall prey to a thousand heartaches. Countless pressures, to begin with, because life is now up to us; we are masters of our own destiny, and that's a crushing load.
The Self is a mighty poor Savior and an utterly empty god.
Which is why being rid of the exalted Self is such a glorious relief.