Saturday, November 10, 2012
If You're Trying To "Die to Self," You're Doing It Wrong
Feeling worn out, spiritually? The past few days, I've been worn out. The storms of life have beaten at my door, and I've almost crumbled in a heap of ruins. I'm no spiritual expert. I'm just a guy who's got struggles - just like you.
The more I study and meditate on the Gospel, the more I realize how little I understand it. It's no wonder that my life is so hard sometimes.
The Christian life isn't supposed to be "hard." Sure, we have our rough times that make us rely on God more, grow our perseverance, and equip us to minister to others. God is making us more like Jesus, which isn't always a comfortable, smooth ride.
Despite what prosperity preachers in huge stadiums tell us, life isn't always rosy.
But hard? Didn't Jesus say something about His yoke being easy, and His burden being light? He offered the weary what they needed most - rest. But rest from what?
Did you know that the bible never says you should die to yourself?
What happened on the cross? Jesus died for you there, in your place. Right?
Something else happened on that cross. If you miss this, your walk will be a wearisome struggle until the day you leave this world.
What else happened? You died on that cross, too. All of your sin, religion, pride, and self-effort died on that cross. That's God's perspective, at least.
Is it yours?
Are you constantly trying to "kill the old man," or "die to self," or some other Christian-ese that keeps wearing you out spiritually?
I challenge you to go through the bible and circle all the times Jesus asks you to try harder. You won't find one. If you do, put it in the comments box below. I'd love to see it.
Anything that requires self-effort is against the grain of the Gospel message. You know the Gospel. Every religion in the world says, "do." Follow these rules, take these steps, and you're all set. The Gospel says "done." On the cross, Jesus put it this way: "It is finished."
That's the good news: God has left only one thing for you to do. Believe in what He has already done for you. That's it. That's the entire Christian life.
You do need to "reckon" or "count" yourself dead. That's not the same as "dying to self." That's recognizing what has already taken place. You died already.
Then, read your bible. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind in the Word. Don't come looking for God's to-do list for your life. Come to know Jesus more. When you see Him, you'll be like Him, and you'll fall more in love with Him.
The Christian life is never a life of self-effort. Jesus is our Sabbath rest. Rest in what Christ has already done for you. When you do, God will work through you. Good fruit will flow from your heart and your life - automatically.