"He must increase, but I must decrease."(Jn 3:30) This was what John the Baptists said when realizing that God's promise of sending a messiah was being fulfilled in Jesus. Those who recognize God's plan also recognize that they are to take a back seat so that He may shine through. This cannot happen as long as the "self" is in the way and wanting to have all the glory and the limelight all to it self.
There comes a time in every Christian's life when he or she will be called upon to forsake this "self" and undergo a transformation of the spirit. Those who submit to God's will and allow the change to take place find a whole new world opening up to them as the Holy Spirit teaches and instructs in the way of all truth. And then there are those who, when the moment of this "death to self" surfaces, choose to not allow it to take place and rather than letting the "self" die hold on to it harder than ever and simply refuse to let God perform a purging of the old man in order to raise up a whole new man in Christ Jesus.
A refusal to "death to self" is totally incompatible with a service to the Lord. You will not be a very useful tool in the Master's hand if this "self" keeps getting in the way, so it has to be purged and remolded according to God's way, not man's. When the "self" takes up too much room then the Lord will attempt to purge it from you, but if you refuse and resist this extraction of the "self", what you are telling God is that you are more important than He is.
These same people spend a lot of time justifying themselves and nauseating God with excuses on why it is they shouldn't do what He asks. " I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."(Rev 3:15-16) "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"(Lk 6:46)
These are also the people who have no regard for others.They do not consider others as being important, and show no concern for them. After all, others are there to serve them. This is particularly prevalent, but not limited to, American women who seem to believe that the entire male population of the earth was created to be their servants.
Some even treat the Lord the same way they treat others; they expect Him to wait on them hand and foot and be their servant. Almost as though He owed them something, when in fact He has already given them His Son, Jesus, the Prophets, the Apostles and numerous inspired teachers. He owes you nothing ! , although you owe Him big-time .
Pride, arrogance and a lack of love and consideration for others is not compatible with a servant of the Lord and these "problems" must be purged and extracted before that person can truly be useful in His service. Otherwise they are only acting in their own interests, not the Lord's. All He asks is that you give to Him, voluntarily, the life He has given to you. To present your body a living sacrifice unto God which is your reasonable service. (Rom 12:1). He wants to take that life and mold it into a useful tool in the Master's hand, but He won't be able to if constantly met with a "self" who refuses to be molded !
Not to worry though. If you are not willing and constantly resist and rebel against Him, He will honour your majesty of choice and simply move on to offer the crown, which should have been yours, to someone more worthy, more humble, more submitted to Him.
And what about you ? Well, you will still have your "self" and will probably whine and complain about how poorly life (but you mean God) is treating you. You, after all, are the victim in all this; you didn't do anything ! And that is the problem. You didn't do anything when it was time to do something; like yield to the Lord's breaking. "And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul."(Ps 106:15)
"Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:"(Isa 29:13)
"But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed."(Ja 1:25)