For me, the ego insidiously wheedles its way into my mindset usually long before I realize it’s returned. I can fool myself to believe I’m living in faith when I’ve really grabbed the reins from the Most Sacred and veered off my spiritual path.
Why is the ego a big deal?
The ego centers arounds the “I.” Such as “I want to be rich” or “Why did that person get so lucky, I deserve it more” or “I know more about this than anybody else.” The ego praises complete independence to the point where we take God out of the equation and try to convince ourselves that we don’t need anyone or anything.
Think about the seven deadly sins: pride, envy, wrath, gluttony, lust, greed and sloth. Each one of these selfish behaviors is rooted in the belief that “I” am more important than anyone/anything else.
Jesus’ faceoff with Satan and what it tells us about ego
As written in Matthew 4:1-11, the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness shortly after he was baptized by John the Baptist. After fasting 40 days and nights, Satan appeared and dogged Jesus to abuse his faith. As the human manifestation of God, Jesus didn’t have to put up with this fallen angel. But he took him on to illustrate the temptations of following ego and foregoing divine guidance.
The Devil tried to prey upon Christ’s human traits. Satan told him to use his heavenly powers to turn stones to bread (remember Jesus hadn’t eaten in 40 days) and to throw himself off the heights since angels would save him. Then, the Devil offered him dominion over the earth if Jesus worshipped him.
During this period, the Devil offered sustenance. Power. Safety. Elements the ego thrives on. But Jesus never wavered and certainly never submitted to Satan; he knew his purpose was not about wielding power and enjoying comfort, but to help others grow closer to the Great I Am.
How to recognize when the ego dominates our actions
Ego has taken control when you feel that:
- faith is not enough,
- you need to place yourself above others,
- good works don’t matter,
- and/or you deserve every bad circumstance that’s happened to you.
But these are false messages. We are creations of God. And, the Most Supreme Being wants us happy.
So pay attention to your mindset and the choices you make. Do they reflect a desire to grow, serve others or make the world a better place? Or do they strive to illustrate your greatness?
God wants us to let go and live in faith. To get to that point where we can conquer the demon of ego, recognize when it is taking us astray and start listening to the Universal Power again.