Blog: Max Dawson
October 1, 2015
Yesterday, September 30, marked the anniversary of the first tooth extraction where anesthesia was used. The extraction was performed by Dr. William Morton in Charleston, Massachusetts. It was done in the year 1846.

Maybe you have never had a tooth pulled. It can be a real ordeal. Today, dentists might use Novocaine, or even some kind of gas to temper the pain of an extraction. But, even after the pain killer has worn off, there can still be a lot of discomfort associated with the procedure.

Pain is something we obviously try to avoid. I was thinking about this early this morning. I asked myself, where do the worst pains in life come from? They typically are not from physical things like a bad tooth, an accident, or disease.

For a lot of folks some of the sorest pains in life come from people–other people. They may come from disappointment or rejection. Pains like these are great and are not to be underestimated. But some of the worst sources of pain that we face in life are not from other people.

Sometimes it is we, ourselves, who create the pain. We are the problem. It is the problem of self. It is apparent to me that the more we focus on self, the more pain we will have in life–the unhappier we will be with life. One preacher suggested that there are three problems with self. These three things can alienate us from others and from God.

1) Self-righteousness. That’s when a person is spiritually smug, conceited and believes they are morally superior to others. This man thinks he is better than everybody else. As a result, he cannot have a good relationship with God or with man. They are like the Pharisees who “trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others” (Luke 18:9). These produce pain for themselves.

2) Self-Deceit. God warns us multiple times: “Don’t be deceived” (Galatians.6:7; James 1:16). The worst deception is when we deceive ourselves. We may deceive ourselves into thinking we are smarter, prettier or more deserving than others. We may even deceive ourselves into thinking we are above sin–and would “never do what others have done.” Self-deceit ultimately is a source of pain both emotionally and spiritually. It sets us up for a fall before both God and man.

3) Self-indulgence. A few years ago there was a beer commercial that said, “You only go around once in life; you gotta grab for all the gusto you can get.” Maybe you didn’t buy the beer, but you bought the philosophy. Our culture is all about grabbing. Maybe if this life was all there is, that would be OK. But there is something more than this life. Life is about more than getting things; it is about more than pleasure. It is about more than having the next big thing. If your life is just about indulging more things on yourself, you are sure to ultimately bring pain and disappointment to yourself. Read Luke 12:15. Jesus will set you straight.


Don’t take the remarks above as meaning we can’t have things, or can’t enjoy life. But you should take it as a warning about getting consumed in self.

What is the answer to being self-absorbed? Hear Jesus in Luke 9:23.

“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.”

Blessings to you, beloved!