Dying to Self

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Living for Christ.

I’ve been reading through old posts and comment threads.
It helps, sometimes, to see where you’ve been, to know where you’re going.

Lots of wisdom has been shared here…from you all.
Thank you for sharing your lives with me.

This time of year brings so much reflection. I suppose it’s the whole Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s thing. Lots of family time and the culmination of, yet, another year.

Another year has come and gone and it happened in the blink of an eye. But, somehow, life-changing events occurred.

Everything gets stirred up. A bit like the bottom of a river. So beautifully clear. Until someone steps in and stirs up the sediment. The water clouds up, becoming murky, with no clear vision at all.

I’ve had some murky moments this year.

It gets that way for me, when I get in the way.
When I put myself before others…
Before family and friends, life gets cloudy.
My vision becomes dull.

I must remember:
I’m not the point.
God is.

He is why I exist.
My existence is not based upon anything other than His desire for me to live…at this point in time…to fulfill His plan.

Somehow, I’m a part of His plan.

The vastness of it is a bit overwhelming. I mean, I don’t really do much in the world’s estimation. But, in God’s mind, I’m vital.  And bringing glory to Him is the most important act any of us can do.

And you know what? When we screw up big time…and wonder what we’ve done… ?  And yet, don’t stay down in the muck and mire of our choices…but reach out to Him for forgiveness and insight…He is faithful to abundantly supply.

And when we praise Him — which feels like a sacrifice when everything around isn’t quite like we think it should be — when we praise Him in the struggle, He gets the glory.

Putting my wants, my desires, and my hopes aside…
Looking to Him for answers to life’s questions…
BIG or little…

Well, it’s what The Teacher did in the book of Ecclesiastes.  After going through all of life’s joys and sorrows and coming to the end of himself, possibly toward the end of his life, he concludes:

Having heard everything, I have reached this conclusion:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
because this is the whole duty of man.
For God will evaluate every deed,
including every secret thing,
whether good or evil.

~Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Paul taught the same thing:

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,
so that each one may be recompensed
for his deeds in the body,
according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
~2 Corinthians 5:10

So why do you condemn another Christian?
Why do you look down on another Christian?
Remember, each of us will stand personally
before the judgment seat of God.  
For the Scriptures say, “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow to Me
and every tongue will confess allegiance to God.’”
Yes, each of us will have to give a personal account to God.
So don’t condemn each other anymore.
Decide instead to live in such a way
that you will not put an obstacle in another Christian’s path.
~Romans 14:10-13

Dying to self.
Living for Christ.
It’s His way.

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8 responses »

  1. Yes. I am learning this same lesson. Again. It is always about Him. And He is so lovely … giving Him this attention is a delight rather than a duty. But … I am yet dust and need to be constantly reminded and drawn again. Which He faithfully does. He is so good.

  2. It seems to be a lesson we will be learning all our lives, Annie. Drawing closer and closer to Him, while dying more and more to self. Until the flesh is gone. Isn’t it wonderful that He remains faithful?, He never walks away. We are not so loyal, but His love will not leave. He remains.

  3. Time does go by so quickly, except at the doctor’s office 🙂 .

    I hope you have been able to savor each moment with your family this holiday season.

  4. It’s been an easy-going season for us, Ed. Which I rather like. I’m spending my time in my new pajamas and drawing for my up-coming website.

    But, shhhh! Don’t tell anyone. It’s still not ready for its debut… 🙂

    And I hear you about that doctor’s office… 👿

  5. When I was hopelessly lost in alcoholism there was one saying that made me understand how lost I was.
    “Self-will gone wild”
    Addiction is so selfish.
    Not at all what we are here for.
    The only thing I should do for me is help someone else.

  6. “Self-will gone wild”

    That is so true! When we realize what has ahold of us…our will…not His…well, the truth of it is rather ugly. But to turn to Him, Jesus Christ is my Higher Power (THE highest, actually) and seek His face…

    Old things pass away and all becomes new.

    Good to see you, Blogger. Hope your holiday season was blessed.

  7. I am curious. I hear this expression used a lot — “dying to self.” Would you be kind enough to please give me 5 examples of what you mean and how this is lived out in a practical day to day way?

  8. Hello, Charlotte. Thanks for stopping by and asking such a thoughtful question.

    The teaching comes from Jesus:

    Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to become My follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” ~Luke 9:23

    So many people teach that this means to carry one’s burdens, as Christ carried His cross. But that would not be the thought for the first century person seeing the crucified lining the streets. The cross meant death. Christ was telling anyone who wanted to follow Him to be willing to die for Him…and to be willing daily.

    Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to become My follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” ~Luke 9:23

    And whoever does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. ~Matt. 10:38

    Whoever does not carry his own cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple. ~Luke 14:27

    Paul explains a bit more:

    I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. ~Gal. 2:20

    Now those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. ~Gal. 5:24

    But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. ~Gal. 6:14

    We know that our old man was crucified with Him so that the body of sin would no longer dominate us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. ~Rom. 6:6

    This is the scriptural basis for the teaching. And I start there because it matters not what I think if my thinking is not based upon scripture.

    So, practically, how does one do this? When being tempted to fulfill our fleshly desires we are to flee. We are to die to what we want if it is contrary to Christ’s teaching.

    ~I may desire to get drunk every night to get away from my thoughts.

    ~I may want to send a stinging email to someone who’s angered me.

    ~I may feel the urge to flip off a driver who cut me off in traffic.

    ~I may choose to relax day in and day out, never volunteering my time for others.

    ~I may sit back and let my spouse do all the work, being fully capable of getting in there and helping around the house.

    ~I may choose to spend all my money on my comforts instead of seeing others’ needs and giving sacrificially for them.

    My sinful nature wants what it wants when it wants it. To deny that nature and live for the way of Christ, in the way He taught (Sermon on the Mount living: Matt 5-7), is to die to self and live for Him. Also, Galatians 5:13-26 gives a great list of those things which are contrary to Christ’s Way and the means by which we can overcome: His Spirit.

    It is a daily death of one’s own desires that are contrary to the Way of Christ.
    It’s the walk of sanctification.

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