“Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:11
“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” Mark 8:35
“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” John 12:24
“And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:38
Once upon a time there was a woman who refused to die. For quite some time, she simply didn’t realize it was time to die. But then, when she had been told it was time to die, she refused. At long last, she surrendered. She not only acknowledged it was time to die, but that she was now prepared to do it. She knew she would need the strength of the Lord to do so, and she was thankful for all those the Lord sent to her to pray for her, to hold her hand, to comfort her, to encourage her, to talk to her about the Lord and about the Bible, and so forth. She knew now there was no way around it. It was time to die. And, as seemingly impossible it would be to do, she knew with the Spirit of Christ living inside her, and knowing through her faith in Christ she was promised everlasting life, she yielded herself utterly to the will of the Lord. Death would now be hers.
My friend, the woman of whom I write is myself. I was that woman. I was not sentenced by God to die a physical death as of yet. I was shown by His Spirit, and by His Word, and by His followers, that the promise of an everlasting relationship with God is for those who not only believe in Christ as Lord. It’s for those who are willing to die to their old way of life, to die to a lifestyle of sin, to die to the world’s ways, to die to self and everything that goes with it, to die to one’s own agenda, plans, dreams, will, wants, and ways, and to live utterly for the Lord Jesus Christ.
For a long time, I didn’t know this is the way of life for a Christ follower. Nobody told me. Then the Lord began to teach me His Word more deeply and sent people and books to me to help me understand what it means to follow Jesus, what it really means to die to self and to live for Him. I fought Him. I resisted Him. I rebelled. Then I surrendered. I gave myself wholly to Jesus and learned that it’s not a one-time death, but a daily death to self, a daily living for Jesus.
And I came to find that as painful as it is for the flesh to die, as hard as it is to say no to self and yes to Christ and God’s ways, there is NOTHING more beautiful and blessed in the universe than to walk in ever-closer fellowship with God almighty through Christ by leaving behind the ways of this world and living according to the ways of the Lord.
I was the woman who refused to die to self, and now I am learning to do just that. Step by step. Saying no to me and my fleshly ways, and saying yes to the Lord who is King forever.
Are you dying daily to yourself, friend? Are you living daily for Jesus? Are you willing to forsake all for Him? Are you willing to learn what it really means to deny yourself and take up your cross and follow Christ as His Spirit leads you forth? Death to self can be unfathomably trying, unbelievably challenging, and gut wrenching, and so very painful and grueling to the flesh, but oh the joy and blessedness of bringing joy and pleasure to the Lord and of experiencing and enjoying His presence and fellowship forevermore! AMEN!