Welcome to Welling: for your spiritual well-being and your ministry overflowing.

Ay, ay, ay. You probably heard that three-fold I to express some sort of dismay. It’s probably borrowed from Spanish, it’s found in Chinese, we have the Yiddish version of oy, oy, oy, or even in my own language, we have a version which expresses distress, like iyo, not like input/output. Recently, the Oxford English Dictionary took that Tamil word and legitimized it as a phrase to show grief, or even a light, “Oh dear.”

We had a Swedish friend who would say, yai, yai, yai, yai, yai, sort of five hard ‘yai’s’. And everybody knew how she felt. Between the three and the five, I’m going to put four I’s. Pardon the play on words. But I get them from our anchor verse for the series. The verse comes from Galatians chapter 2. It is a seminal verse on how we live the spiritual life.

If you take all the passages of the apostle Paul, Galatians 2:20 actually encapsulates the dimensions of how we live the spiritual life. In fact, if we look at that verse, you’ll notice a word “lives,” “lives” occurring quite frequently, but I’m focusing on the I. There are four Is in that passage. I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who lives but Christ lives in me. And the life I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.

It’s a rich, deep verse. And I’m going to try to take some time to explain this over several short videos.

The word I is a simple word in Greek. Actually, every language has its own version of the I. It simply means you in your personal identity. If you take all the uses of the I in psychology and sociology and put it under theology, the I is what makes decisions. It’s the way we operate. It’s what we think of ourselves.

The Greek word is simply ego. We’ve learned the English version of it as ego because it has some pejorative feel to it. The word egoism is focused on what we want, or I want. I only act in selfish interest. Or egocentrism is self-centered. Someone said, we use the word selfie for pictures because narcissism is too hard and long a word to spell, let alone pronounce. It’s not easy to break free from egotism, where I am biased toward myself.

I’m told of a university grad who went back to his family in the farm, only graduate of a university, and was talking much about himself. At the end of it, the farmer said to his wife, how many university graduates does it take to change a light bulb? And the wife said, how many? The man, talking about his son, said, one. He holds the light bulb and the whole world revolves around him.

In psychology, simply the notion of the self, the single being, the unitary being, the one who stays somewhat continuous whether you’re five years old, or 50 years old, where you are the subject, where me is the object.

Sociology tells us that the I has to do with impulses as we operate inside society. Philosophy will place it as personal identity because you are a human being. By virtue of being, living, knowing, doing, you are an I.

Now when we come to culture, it is more humorous, because culture attempts to influence who the I is. Here is from Hindu stratification of the highest caste in their own self understanding and view. There are degrees and levels of superiority in their understanding and awareness. They say, there’s the I, the Iyer, and the Iyengar. And the joke is the Iyer you get, the Iyengar you get.

Carl Jung, the psychologist, said this, “The world will ask you who you are, and if you do not know, the world will tell you.”

I want to speak about the I. Sometime ago, I received a letter from a friend who said, Ramesh, I counted the Is in your letter, and there were one too many. And so I counted, in his note to me, how many Is … and you cannot escape from it.

Because when you’re talking about yourself, you’ve got to keep it. The question is how you use your I. If it is the prideful I, then you’ve got to address it. But if it’s just a personal I, as you will find in the apostolic biography, even in Galatians chapter 2, you’ve got to affirm it. When religions say you’ve got to deny all your desires, we always ask, who’s the I who’s got to deny the desire? It seems like the I has a desire to deny the desire. You’re just locked in self reference.

So we distinguish between what we call the prideful, egotistical I and the personal, psychological I. The apostle Paul uses both in this verse, one which needs to be crucified. And that happened, we’ll talk about it. The other which needs to be indwelt, for the secret of our welling is His indwelling. Welcome to I, I, I, I.