“What am I living for:  myself, my own position, money, place, power?   Or are my powers at the disposal of human need?  At the disposal of the kingdom?  Again I ask, what am I living for:  myself or others?”

“This last test of character comes to the root of the matter.  In the final analysis, what controls my actions--self-interest or Christ-interest?  In the deepest citadel of my spirit, who gives the final word?  Do I or does Christ?  The answer to that determines whether I am a Christian or not.

And what is the issue?  It is this:  If I dominate my life, it will disintegrate--I shall lose it.  If Christ dominates my life, I shall find it--it will come back to me integrated, happy, and useful.

If my desires dominate me, I shall be drowned in my own desires.  I shall have my way, and then I shall loathe my way.  When self is on the throne, its inner subjects are unhappy, discordant.  That self may be a very refined self, it may be a very religious self--it may even be an apparently serving self--but if it is on the throne and makes the final decisions, then as sure as fate, I shall lose my life.  My life needs a master, but self is not the master that it needs.

Hush your heart and ask yourself this question:  Who has the ultimate say in my life--self or Christ?  Am I self-directed or Christ-directed?”

E. Stanley Jones

Victorious Living

Once again, Jones leaves no wiggle room.  Christians are Christ-directed.  A person who is not dominated by Christ-interest is not a Christian.  Period.  That settles the matter as far as Jones is concerned.

I think he’s got a strategy here.  He’s trying to bring the reader to a point of repentance and surrender.  Maybe someone could read the first four self-examination questions and come under no conviction.  However, I doubt anyone would claim to be Christ-directed at every moment.  

The honest answer is that our lives are a mix of self-determined and Christ-led moments.  We give thanks for the times when we’ve let faith guide our behavior.  We repent over the times when we were selfish.  I think that’s what Jones is after in the end.  Not a definition that separates real Christians from fake Christians, but a question that humbles us and inspires us to ask for divine assistance in the management of our lives.