Beyond Our “I”

Newborn babies are self-focused. They cry when they are hungry, need attention, or need to be changed. Toddlers are naturally selfish and must be taught to share. Our “I”-ness often lingers into adulthood. Becoming Christ-like is a lifelong process of trying to get beyond our “I”.

In today’s message, I want to use a series of pictures to make my point. The Christian journey is a lifelong journey that spans the distance from being self-focused to being others focused. The journey of faith begins with a deeply personal act of our “I”. We must personally choose Jesus. No one can do that for us.

As followers of Christ, we must recognize that our faith, which began deep within, now beckons us to go beyond our “I” as we develop a relationship with Jesus. Our faith in Jesus liberates us from our “I” and from our preoccupation with self. Faith liberates us and sets us free to respond to our Heavenly Father. Faith in Jesus allows us to say yes to His love, and in turn, it allows us to shift our gaze from ourselves to those we meet on the path of life.

The very personal act of our “I” which places its faith in Jesus, now makes possible our salvation. But, our faith in Jesus now calls us forth. At its core, faith is about breaking free from the isolation of oneself. Set free by faith and redeemed by Jesus, our “I” finds a new “I” bound to and interwoven in the collective “I” of others. We become one body in Christ. Our new “I” which is united with Christ and intertwined with everyone else, calls us to work for God’s Kingdom and calls us to help each other along the road to Heaven.

Hopefully I can now make this point with a series of pictures. (You can click the pictures to enlarge them.)

I purchased this beautiful cross a year or so ago. Carefully notice that in the 3d aspects of this carved wooden cross, three individuals are depicted. The vertical pole of the cross appears somewhat like a well shaft. From the top of the well we just see the hand of someone reaching down. That hand is holding the hand of another individual who is kneeling on the cross beam. While holding the hand coming down from above, the individual on the cross beam is also holding the hand of the third individual who seems to be stuck in the muck and mire at the bottom of the well shaft. Clearly, the person at the bottom is in need of being rescued.

I assume that the first time anyone sees this cross they identify with the person stuck in the muck and mire. I did. I also assume that we believe that the person kneeling on the cross beam is Jesus and the hand reaching down from above is the hand of God the Father.

Now going back to what I wrote above, it takes a personal act of our “I” to reach up to Jesus’ hand. If we don’t, we remain stuck at the bottom.

Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” John 3:17 states, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” These two verses are combined in the depiction of Jesus kneeling on the cross beam, holding tight to His Father’s hand while rescuing us from the bottom of the well.

Thus far all of this is “I” focused. We are the one’s in peril and we are the one’s being saved by Jesus. This, however, is where everything changes. Once we have been rescued by Christ, we are commissioned to service in the Kingdom of God.

At this point, we are called to abandon our individual “I” and join our “I” to both Christ and others. Now we need to change the focus of how we see this carving. Perhaps the person at the bottom of the well is not us. Maybe it was only our “I” focused thinking that made us see it that way. Maybe, it is in fact someone else. This completely changes everything.

As Christians, it is you and me who are now kneeling on the cross beam. We have one hand raised up and placed firmly in the grasp of Jesus our Savior. He has already pulled us out of the muck and brought us to the safety of the cross beam. Our other hand is lowered down to the person at the bottom. Following His example, Jesus now wants us to pull the person out from their perilous plight below. Will we?

As Christians and members of the Body of Christ, this process should be repeated over and over every day. Each and every person who has been rescued from the well should themselves, take on the responsibly of reaching out a helping hand to someone else in need. Many times the malady of our “I” focused life prevents us from seeing those who are at risk and in trouble.

The deep and rich meaning contained in this beautifully carved cross has touched me deeply. I hope it touches you in the same way. We all need a reminder to move beyond our “I” focused life.  I purchased this cross from this website. It took several weeks to arrive, but it was well worth the wait. Hold tight to Jesus, and reach out a hand to someone in need today!

Heavenly Father, your Son Jesus rescued me from my burdens and sins. I am eternally grateful for His saving grace! Grant me the wisdom to go beyond my “I” and give me the ability to see those in need. Strengthen and guide me to take the proper action to help someone today. Amen!  


As always, I love to hear from you. You can email by clicking here.

Please take a moment to share your thoughts about today’s message below.

Brian Pusateri
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  1. Jim Nolan on March 5, 2024 at 9:12 am

    Thanks Brian for the beautiful and powerful images. God bless you, your ministry and your family. Jim

  2. Barrie Heinz on March 5, 2024 at 8:20 am

    Brian, Thanks and God bless you for sharing this message and the new insight you had about the cross you purchased and show us here. Indeed a blessing, as well as a confirmation I’m sure, to so many of us on our journey with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. With our together love, Donna & Barrie

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