Dying is not the most jovial thing to think about is it? It is morbid, painful, and just downright depressing! That is unless you are a child of God. Death for a Christian is the moment we end our earthly hell, and when our faith becomes sight. Let me put it this way:
Can a lion with all his ferocious teeth and claws hurt you? Well of course the answer is yes. Yes, we do not stand a chance in a fight with the “king of the jungle.” But can a shadow of a lion hurt you? In fact, can the shadow of anything hurt you? Not in the slightest. David says in Psalm 23, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.” No matter how severe our trial, even if it leads to death, it cannot hurt the child of God. Hallelujah! What encourage that is for us today! Through the gate of death, we can see the One who has given us everlasting life.
Did you know that this is true when it comes to our spiritual walk with Christ? If we are going to see “no man save Jesus only” (Matthew 17:8), something must die. Paul said in Galatians 5:24, “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” If we are going to see Him and the fruits of His Spirit, we must die to ourselves (flesh).
My late pastor, Bro Bobby Roberson used to always say, “What you say should not hurt me, because I’m supposed to be dead to self, and you can’t hurt something that’s dead.”
1. The Panic of Dying to Self
- “It’s too hard.” The constant fight to stay right with God is sometimes exhausting, but it is worth every ounce of our energy. And let’s be honest, most of the time we are exhausted because we are the ones that are doing all the fighting. “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28)
- “It’s too painful.” Death brings about pain. It is just a fact of life. But the pain of putting all our desires and aspirations aside is worth gaining Christ. Philippians 3:7-8 says, “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss from Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I suffered the loss of all things , and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,”
- “It’s too costly.” We can’t stand the thought of losing something that is dear and costly to us. Like when we are in a hurry, and we just can’t seem to find our wallet, we start to panic, and brink on the edge of absolute insanity. This is exactly why it is so hard to give of ourselves to God, because we place a high value on ourselves and earthly things. We often “think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think” and lean to our own understanding. Emptying ourselves is a price we are not willing to pay.
- “It’s too scary.” When we truly die to ourselves, we are at that moment entering into the unknown. Complete surrender is placing ourselves into the control of His Spirit. We are no longer stirring our lives, but trusting in the potter’s hands to mold and shape us into His image.
2. The Places of Dying to Self
- Our Desires. It is so hard to knock into our thick heads the fact that God knows best. Our preconceived notions of what “we know” God will do, is often what blinds us to what God is actually fulfilling right in front of our eyes.
- Our Discussion. Colossians 3:8-9 tells us to “put off” blasphemy, filthy communication, and lies, because they are the deeds of the old man. When we are “renewed in the knowledge after the image of him that created” us, we are to put on “teaching and admonishing one another…” (v.16).
- Our Decisions “Show me thy O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day” (Psalms 25:4-5). It is hard to tell a blind man which way to walk, if he doesn’t admit the fact that he is blind. We are blind without Christ destined for destruction, but He is ready and willing to be our Shepherd.
3. The Power of Dying to Self
Crucifying the flesh is not easy, but it is imperative that we do it daily. “I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily” (I Corinthians 15:31). But why should we suffer this great pain in humbling ourselves? “…For the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 3:8). Life more abundant and free is waiting for the child of God, who gives of himself. When flesh is crucified, then God is glorified! “…Put off…” the ways of the old man, and let God “…put on…” the new! (Colossians 3:8-10).