For years when I heard in Christian circles the words dying to self, I wanted to say surely there is something else we can talk about. It isn’t my feel good place if you know what I mean. But is Christianity about our feel good place or is it about laying down our lives for others?
Today is the Monday after Easter, the celebration of the empty tomb, the resurrection of the One who laid His life down in exchange for our lives. Since Jesus has done this for us, why the talk of having to die to self? As believers, though Christ lives in us, it is the work of His Holy Spirit that helps us live in the freedom bought on the cross. But self wants to stay on the throne of our lives, not wishing to relinquish rights to control our lives and our destiny. Paul writes:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
Paul also said in Romans 6:11:
In the same way count yourselves dead to sin but alive in Christ Jesus.
On the day that Christ died, a sacred exchange was made- His life for ours. Our false self was nailed to the cross and our true self, free from sin and death, was resurrected and found fully alive.
So again, why the talk of dying to self if we have already been crucified with Christ? We must fully enter in to our new life, living in obedience to God’s Word, fully alive in Him and the freedom to love Him and others completely. Which brings me to my main point. In order to love others as Christ loves us, self must be deposed from the throne of our lives. In order for Christ to move and have His being in us, we must surrender. And that is a daily process of yielding to His life. As we experience and allow God’s affection for us to take root, we begin to see our affections for others grow. Self is replaced by Christ’s love and our desire to serve others and consider them above ourselves is the fruit of this exchange.
Friends, on this Monday after Easter, let’s reflect on our relationships to one another. As we live in social isolation due to COVID 19 virus, we have a great opportunity to love not at a distance, but by reaching out to one another. I have found joy in this time extending hope to those who are anxious and building relationships that otherwise might never had happened. The Lord is using this time to depose our false selves and offer our lives in sacrifice on behalf of others. Whatever seed you have in your hand, prepare to sow. This is the time to sow into our relationships. Seeds of hope, love, and the good news that Jesus is fully alive and at work in our world.
For more of Joanne’s teachings and to Stay Connected..