It’s Time to Die
It’s not the most cheery title today, right? This is a message that has been burning deep within me for many months now. For some reason, I thought the holiday season wasn’t the best time to share it, but the truth is it’s a message we as Christians need to have at the forefront of our mind, no matter what time of year.
If it’s not obvious to you already, I want to quickly point out that there is a self-empowerment message going on around the world today. One of the most purchased books in 2018 was about this very topic. Self. Self. Self. Ra. Ra. Ra.
Self-righteousness is already a big problem and it doesn’t help that it’s the message the world continues to send. It’s happening even among Christian circles and in all honesty it just hasn’t set well with me. I have often wondered if I am the only that it bothers. At the same time, sadly enough, I am finding myself not surprised by it at all.
The reality is there are many Christians trying to feast on spiritual junk food and then they are wondering why they are feeling so malnourished? This is just what Timothy warns us of in 2 Timothy 4:3-5 which says, “You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. But you—keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.”
As I spend time in the Word, where I find the true food for my soul, I find a much different message than the world is presenting. I have continued to read the Gospels, over and over, and let me tell you, the message in the Bible? It’s one that is the exact opposite of self-empowerment.
I want to share with you some scriptures I underlined in my Bible and share my thoughts throughout this post. Let’s start in Matthew. Matthew 10:38-39 says, “And whoever comes to me must follow in my steps and be willing to share my cross and experience it as his own, or he cannot be considered to be my disciple. All who seek to live apart from me will lose it all. But those who let go of their lives for my sake and surrender it all to me will discover true life!”
In this passage Matthew points out that to be a disciple of Christ, we are to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and share his cross. How do you and I do this? This happens when we surrender our will and our way and when we do, we discover true life in Christ.
Jesus said to all of his followers in Luke 9:23-27 “If you truly desire to be my disciple, you must disown your life completely, embrace my ‘cross’ as your own, and surrender to my ways. For if you choose self-sacrifice, giving up your lives for my glory, you will embark on a discovery of more and more of true life. But if you choose to keep your lives for yourselves, you will lose what you try to keep. Even if you gained all the wealth and power of this world, everything it could offer you, yet lost your soul in the process, what good is that? So why then are you ashamed of being my disciple? Are you ashamed of the revelation-truth I give to you?”
If you want to follow Christ you have to disown your life completely, embrace his ‘cross’ as your own, and surrender to his ways. Can you live according to your own carnal desires? Of course! But if you choose to do so your soul will be lost and just as this verse says, “what good is that?” But if you make the choice to die and follow Jesus? That is when you will discover true life.
There is also a section that I took note of in Luke 9:62 that I find very interesting. It reads “Why do you keep looking backward to your past and have second thoughts about following me? When you turn back you are useless to God’s kingdom realm.”
This verse comes after a man spoke to Jesus, declaring he wanted to follow Jesus, but he needed to say goodbye to his family. Isn’t this such a picture? It’s almost as though some of us want to follow Christ, but at the same time are tempted with clinging to our past or clinging to the things of this world. If that is you, you are useless to God’s Kingdom!
I want to now hop over to Luke. Luke 14:25-30 says, “As massive crowds followed Jesus, he turned to them and said, ‘When you follow me as my disciple, you must put aside your father, your mother, your wife, your sisters, your brothers—yes, you will even seem as though you hate your own life. This is the price you’ll pay to be considered one of my followers. And anyone who comes to me must be willing to share my cross and experience it as his own, or he cannot be considered to be my disciple. So don’t follow me without considering what it will cost you. For who would construct a house before first sitting down to estimate the cost to complete it? Otherwise he may lay the foundation and not be able to finish. The neighbors will ridicule him, saying, ‘Look at him! He started to build but couldn’t complete it!’”
Did you get that? You must be willing to share the cross of Jesus with him and if you are going to follow Jesus you must consider what it will cost you. Verses 31-35 go on to say, “Have you ever heard of a commander who goes out to war without first sitting down with strategic planning to determine the strength of his army to win the war against a stronger opponent? If he knows he doesn’t stand a chance of winning the war, the wise commander will send out delegates to ask for the terms of peace. Likewise, unless you surrender all to me, giving up all you possess, you cannot be one of my disciples. Salt is good for seasoning. But if salt were to lose its flavor, how could it ever be restored? It will never be useful again, not even fit for the soil or the manure pile! If you have ears opened by the Spirit, then hear the meaning of what I have said and apply it to yourselves.”
By sharing just a few passages I think I have made point. It is time to die to yourself because this life is not about you, it’s about him. You must surrender! Not just some of your life, but every aspect of your life. You can not be a follower of Jesus unless you surrender it all and die to yourself. But when you do? This is when you discover true life in Christ!
How have you fallen trap to the spiritual junk food around you? What has kept you from overcoming your past to look forward? What area of your life are you holding onto? What is keeping you from surrendering it all over to Christ and following his plans and purposes for you?
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