Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.
- Luke 9:23-24
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
- Romans 12:1
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
- John 3:3
Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
- John 12:25
“When I was eleven years old, I prayed a prayer to invite Jesus into my heart. But it wasn’t until the age of twenty-one that I came to the end of doing things my way. I chose to surrender my life to Jesus and make Him my Lord and Savior, drawing a line in the sand; there was no turning back. Prior to that, I stood with one foot in the world and one foot in church. But I realized that position wasn’t working.
“In order to follow Jesus, I had to lay down my whole life and die to my will and agenda. I needed to place my entire life in God’s hands. I experienced the revelation that true repentance requires a death of my old nature; the result would be a resurrection of my new nature in Christ. This meant I needed to die to what I thought made me happy.
“Even though doing that was hard at first, I found true life and fulfillment! I realized I could breathe without fear and insecurity. I saw things from a new perspective. I felt awe and wonder in the simplest things. I found a love so beautiful that nothing else could compare or satisfy like Jesus!
“But I also learned that true discipleship meant a lifestyle of dying to self. I began to better understand Romans 12:1: ‘Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.’ This is the lifestyle of a follower of Christ.
“We die in order to live. You may be breathing, but are you truly living? …
“Ask the Lord what it is that you need to die to. When you know what it is, yield that seed into the hands of the Lord. If it is from God, it will produce a harvest beyond your wildest dreams.”
- Alex Seeley, The Opposite Life
Alex Seeley uses the phrase ‘drawing a line in the sand.’ She follows that with ‘there was no turning back.’ Maybe it is my military training that I use the phrase ‘unconditional surrender.’ But I love the concept of not turning back. Why would you?
As she concludes her opening remarks, she suggests that you might be breathing, but are you truly living? The only way to find out is to cross that line in the sand that requires you to never turn back.
We must turn from our sins, but that is in order to cross the line. I like the executive of the local Christian television channel who says that God is pursuing you. To accept Him, just stop and turn around and fall into His arms. Or words to that effect.
But there are a few snippets from the quote above that are key. We do indeed die to self, meaning that we live God’s will, and we may not see life as we had expected life to be. I made many stupid decisions. I know they were not in God’s will, but God used those dire circumstances to mold me into who I am. For one, I would probably not be writing this right now. And when it comes to dying to self, I watch 3-4 television shows each week. I read a pleasure reading for about an hour each day. I eat two meals a day. And I do things for my wife. I try to sleep eight hours, and the rest of the time I am researching, writing, and although you may find a typo here or there, I edit. I am “all in” when it comes to writing for God, and in so doing, I love my work. I have more satisfaction in what I do than I ever had. Why? Dying to self does not mean, as she thought as a child, giving up what you want. You simply want more of God and my worldly desires get in the way of getting more of God.
Lord, I desire nothing but more of You. I stumble and get my priorities wrong on occasion, and You let me know when I am on the wrong track. And when I feel too exhausted to move forward, You give me the strength just as I need it. Thank You, Lord. Amen
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.
Good truth/theology here. Conversion means we change old ways to new ways. We are another creature with Christ within.
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