Saturday, September 26, 2015

Dying to Self

Luke‬ ‭9:23‬ ‭ - Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
I visited a friend yesterday. I'd not seen her in months due to illness. I was so thrilled and blessed to see her and so thankful she's feeling better, knowing each day will bring more improvement.

As we shared what's been going on, she mentioned how she has had to go through a whole summer of dying to self as mentioned in the verse above. It's something we all need to experience. For some it comes on a daily basis, others not so much. I think as long as things go well in a person's life it can be harder to do this. That probably was an admission that I may not be doing such a good job of that myself. Sometimes a difficult trial will cause more self-denial. 

Dying to self is something we have to work at, and that is through obedience to God's will. We need His help and guidance. We cannot do it on our own. In fact, we need God all the time! This is a life-long process for sure. Let's face it, we are all so me-oriented. Get thrown into a situation, a life trial, where what we have always been able to do or be is suddenly squelched, we learn...humility, dependence (preferably on the Lord, although here on earth, also friends and family) and...ugh, denial of self. 

Jesus gave up His life; He so thoroughly denied all of Himself for us. He gave His life. That is what we are called to do. How well do we do this? Are we willing to give up some of our precious time for someone else? We have to search our heart's motive, however. Are we willing to give up that precious time when we would rather be doing something else? Or will we do it when it's convenient?  How selfish are we? How much are we willing to do for or give to someone else? Jesus gave it all. We are called to do the same. 

Sometimes dying to self, dying to our plans for a morning, a day, a week or a season, is how we learn more about our God and His sacrifice for us. It just don't come easy! A rebellious bunch we are. How God can love us still amazes me. 

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)  I like another version which says: ...but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Jesus also said this: Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. (John‬ ‭15:2‬)  What happens to those branches that are pruned? They are thrown into a fire to be burned (John 15:6). They are so not useful...

My friend will have a lot of fruit after all this. Difficulties definitely cause one to think...about what's important, what was all vanity, a grasping for the wind...and most importantly for someone in Christ, how to draw closer to Him, to rely on His strength, comfort and peace.

It goes hand in hand...this dying to self, pruning and bearing fruit. When we come to Christ, it is a requirement. The old man dies so the new man may live. Quite often the old man lingers and that's where the pruning comes in. Snip, goes more pride. Snip, snip...there goes self reliance. Snip, snip...that fear must go. Snip, snip...self, self, self and selfishness must cease. The more that's pruned the more like Christ we become. 

And that is what He wants. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son... (Romans‬ ‭8:29‬)  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2Corinthians‬ ‭3:18‬)

He laid down His life for us so, as we die to self, we are to lay down that selfish life for others (1John 3:16). Part of that includes sharing this Gospel, even when some don't want to hear. It's desiring that others get this thing of relationship with Christ. Without it we are nothing, dead in our sins, lost, blind, without understanding, without truth, without hope, without certainty. We die to selves and take the offense by being outspoken for the Lord. 

He came for shepherds and kings, the poor and rich. We all need a Savior whether we believe it or not. We all have needs. The person who has little needs more of Christ. The person who has more, even much, may need much more of Christ. One who has little is 
grateful for a little more. One who has much has a lot more to lose. But Christ knows the needs and saves all if they respond.

I have a long way to go. Get out those pruning shears, Lord

Ephesians‬ ‭4:22,24‬ - ...that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts...and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. 

No comments:

Post a Comment