A death-to-self lifestyle God’s been helping me with is jealousy. Yes, jealousy! Sometimes, it’s either because he or she had a nice car or home, she’s thinner than me, or possessed some ability and skill that I didn’t. I probably wished I had it all. Funny right? All the same, the first time I sensed God leading me out of this was when I had this strong conviction within me that:
You don’t need all of those to prosper, if you did, God’d have provided, you’re who you are for a reason.
And so, each time jealousy tries to unfold, I just smile and say:
Dear Self, you don’t need those to complete you!
Dear Purple Reader, today I’ll be discussing dying to self. To die to self simply is to deny one’s self, in the sense that you set aside what you want in this moment and focus instead on loving God with everything you’ve got.
It means that you are willing to move away from your self-centered, self-seeking, self-serving desires and closer to becoming openhearted follower of Christ.
Hence, Jesus says:
If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must DENY HIMSELF, and take up his cross and follow Me. [Matthew 16:24]
In dying to self, we find genuine life by depending on God.
Paul explains this to the Galatians saying he has been crucified with Christ, and now he (Paul) no longer lives, but Christ lives in him:
Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. [Galatians 2:20 MSG]
Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good – crucified. [Galatians 5:24 MSG].
Note, Paul’s old life is dead, and the new Paul is the dwelling place of Christ.
Dying to self is a part of the process of sanctification.
It is the total essence of the Christian life, we take up our cross and follow Christ.
There are so many people out there who have sacrificed their comfort, culture, wants and desires just to follow the call of Christ.
I know it’s never fun to die, I’m aware it doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a process of continuous obedience to the prompting of the Spirit, and it’s worth it.
You can start as a mere denial of a little something everyday. Say you’re a junk addict, you can start by denying yourself a dough a day or two in a week. Or you may decide to become less defensive when ridiculed or humiliated by peers. These small but significant denials enable us to face bigger denials.
Trust me, the whole journey of self-denial is not going to be so easy. Even so, we ought to pray to God for a daily obedience to His commands as He prompts us.
Drop a comment below, share with me how this truth shapes you or better still, let’s keep the conversation going on Twitter @DearPurpleWoman
Have a selfless day!