Dr. Moreland makes the following argument for the personal devotion of each person. Beyond that, this idea completely reoriented my ministry philosophy.
Have you ever inadvertently looked at the sun and then closed your eyes? What did you see? Most likely two spots. Have you ever tried to examine those spots? I did once, and was immediately presented with a difficulty. When I closed my eyes and tried to focus my attention on the spots, they would move and stay at a place in my visual field just ahead of the center of my focus. After a minute of chasing the spots around in my consciousness, I finally figured out what to do. I looked past the spots and focused my attention on a point in the background. When I did this, the spots stabilized and came into focus in the foreground of my awareness!
According to Jesus of Nazareth, our lives are very much like these spots. if we spend all our time trying to look directly at ourselves, our live dart around, become unstable, and get drastically out of focus. However, if we deny ourselves daily for Christ’s sake (Matthew 16:24-27) –that is, if we gave past ourselves and stare at Him with dedication and affection –as a a byproduct we come into focus and stabilize in the foreground. This sort of self-denial actually requires a strong, integrated self. An immature, fragmented narcissistic person cannot bring himself or herself to live with this sort of focus and discipline.