Death to Self

I'm a slow processor.

I'm a really good person to have around during a crisis or emergency because I don't freak out at first. My brain goes into hyper drive and my body kicks into gear. I usually do the grunt work that requires little or no talent.

But then when all of the work is done, it's my turn to "freak out".

I'm also a slow processor when I learn something new. Some times it just takes me a while to organize new information in my head. And some times I need a picture. I need to know how the new information will or should affect my life.

This is never more true than with scripture.

For years I've been mulling around the idea of "dying to self" or to "deny self". What does it mean? What does it look like? How will it affect my life? Can I do that? Or maybe the real question is 'will I do that?'

Well, I'll tell ya, I'm not a great Bible scholar. I'm just a girl with a Bible and books and the internet. So, in my limited understanding I'll tell you what I've learned.

I've learned that dying to self is a continual process. It is an hourly, daily, minute-by-minute decision to put God and others before myself...to deny my self centered impulses and desires and elevate Christ and HIS desires (and thereby others) in my heart.

One of the things I get hung up on is expecting complete and utter change over night.

I'm not going to wake up tomorrow as an entirely transformed, dead-to-self person because I decided to be one today. It takes time. And while I'm in the process, Jesus' blood covers me. So God sees Him instead of my deficiency.

As I continually make the decision to die to myself and live for Christ, the desires and impulses of my flesh will hold less and less weight in my heart until they eventually hold none.

So what does this look like in my life?

Well, I've been praying for God to give me a vision (or idea) of what it will ultimately look like. And He has. For now, it looks like me getting up in the morning and acknowledging that God is in control and keeping Him and His vision always before me. And trusting Him to complete the work He's begun in me. It looks like studying and meditating on the life of Jesus and His teachings. It looks like practicing self denial as I go about my daily tasks to encourage new habits during "crunch" times. And it looks like praying for God to "work in my inner being to change the things that keep me from obeying His Son" (Willard/Simpson, page 80).

I have to admit, I'm a little afraid. I'm afraid of what I might have to give up and what He might require of me.

I know that God is good. I believe that with all of my heart. He's proven Himself faithful time and time again.

So even though my flesh is afraid, I'm deciding to trust Him anyway. I choose Him. I choose death. And I'm trusting that He will show me the way to true life in Him.

References:

Galatians 2:20
Luke 9:23
Romans 6
Colossians 3:3
Matthew 16:24-26

Revolution of Character by Dallas Willard with Don Simpson

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