Living for ourselves is not what God is asking us. He wants us to follow His Son, Jesus’ example by living for Him. That means putting ourselves last in all our endeavors. Those are hard words to follow, but through His power and love, it will draw us closer to Him.
Eternal Perspectives by Sally Bair
Dying to self
The word dying is used flippantly among both teens and adults these days. “I’m dying to go out with so-and-so.” “Didn’t you just die of embarrassment when the principal called you out of class?” “We’re dying to see that movie” or “… to get this problem over with.” Yet when we speak about actually dying, we Americans often avoid the word. Even our obituaries side-step the word “died” with the more palatable phrase, “passed away.”
Let’s face it; none of us want to die yet. We spend millions to prolong our lives through medical care, diets and exercise. We even ask the Lord to lengthen our life so we can finish raising our children, pay off the mortgage or make a last will and testament. Only when we face the possibility of our imminent death or that of a loved one do we give it much thought.
Imagine living in the day of Jesus under harsh Roman rule when death lurked around each corner. Imagine knowing, as Jesus did, that He would die a terrible death. Yet He also knew His death would take Him back to the loving arms of His Father in heaven. Such a promise He offered to His followers. They need not fear death of their bodies, knowing their spirits would live forever with their beloved teacher, Jesus.
Jesus promises us that when we are willing to die to our sinful, selfish nature in order to love and obey Him and place others ahead of ourselves, we will ultimately live with Him once our bodies have died. We may not have to face the danger that some missionaries do to serve the Lord. We do, however, need to be willing to give up everything in this life for His sake.
“For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. … For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.” (Romans 14:7-9)
A famous evangelist of the early 1900s, John G. Lake, wrote: “If I were pledging men and women to the gospel of the Son of God, as I am endeavoring to do now, it would not be to have a nice church and harmonious surroundings, and a sweet do-nothing time. I would invite them to be ready to die.”
Lord, by Your Spirit make us willing to die to our sinful, selfish desires so we can live for You. In Jesus’ name, amen.