Everyone is called by God to follow His plan for one’s life. This includes restoring our true identity and position in Christ, living as co-workers of God, and sharing the glory of God. Although we are justified by faith, there is a certain price of following.
In Luke chapter 14, Jesus Christ explains that the one who wants to become His disciple must be aware of the cost. This cost is no less than everything that man has and is. “So if any of you do not deny everything he has, he can not be my disciple. “(Luke 14:33). The true love is willing to pay any price. And this is nothing less than death to the self-centered life, expressed mostly in the ego and the pride.
Why this price?
There are at least 2 main reasons:
- Out of necessity – first of all to express God’s life in us. Without death there is no resurrection. “Verily, verily, I say to you, if the wheat grain does not fall into the earth and does not die, it remains lonely; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. “(John 12:24).
On the second place because of God’s holiness, character and glory. God is light and there is no darkness in Him. Born of His infinite love, God’s dream and goal, is to dwell among His people. To be in the closest and intimate fellowship possible, without barriers between Him and us. Such a huge barrier is the human ego and pride, expressed in a self-centered and self-serving life. When we live carrying our cross, crucifying the flesh with all its lusts and passions every day, then God’s nature and life through the Holy Spirit can grow and be manifested in us.
- As a response to His love and sacrifice – God has already given everything from Himself as He has paid the highest possible price to pave the way for our return to Him. God’s love gives everything from Himself. So there is no other appropriate response except that we can give Him all that we are.
Dying to self
In the Gospel of John, Jesus Christ says: “This I have told you so that you may have peace in me. In this world you will have trouble; but take heart! I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33)
God’s victory over the world consists in overcoming the lust of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the pride (vanity) of life. The Apostle John writes in his First Message: “Do not love the world, nor what is in the world. If anyone loves the world, there is no love for Father in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but of the world; the world and its desires passes away; but whoever does the will of God lives for ever. (1 John 2:15-17)
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself was tested in the desert in these three areas before he began His ministry. So those who have decided to pay the price of the high calling will be periodically tested. The purpose is that God’s victory can be fully manifested. This testing brings also the transformation from a self-centered to a God-centered way of life.
Dying to the lust of the flesh
We overcome the lusts and passions of the flesh on one hand by a deliberate refusal to satisfy our needs beyond the boundaries of God’s provision, declaring our dependence on God, which means also to humble ourselves. And on the other hand – by prioritizing high God and the things of God. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all this shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33). And “man shall not live on bread alone, but by every word of God”. (Luke 4:4)
Dying to the lust of the eyes
This is the ambition and aspirations for acquisition of glory, authority, honor, and wealth as a peak of self-realization and as a false basis for the formation of identity and sense of self-worth, value and dignity. The lust of the eyes can not be satisfied. God’s way is a desire (hunger and thirst) for righteousness, for then we will be truly satisfied. His way incudes accepting our identity as God’s children in Christ. This identity does not depent on possessions and achievements. It involves also God’s way of glorifying us. “You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.” (Luke 4:8)
Dying to the pride or the vanity of life
This has to do with the identity and the need of self-proving as opposite of God’s way. Jesus was tempted in the wilderness to prove that he is the son of God in by testing God. A kind of “show who you are by doing what I want”. God’s and our definite answer is and always must be, “Do not test the Lord your God.” (Luke 4:12) God’s way of showing that we are God’s children is not by yielding to provocation. It is through life in love, truth, faith and righteousness.
With which aspect of the dying to self are you struggling the most? Come and share your thoughts in the comments!