The motto of a Christian should be, “Die to self; live for Christ.” It’s an everyday thing. Are you a disciple?
9 The LORD detests the way of the wicked, but He loves those who pursue righteousness.
Pursuing righteous means seeking the LORD in the pages of Scripture. It’s the one tangible thing that He has given us; in other words, we can hold it in our hands. We’re talking a book of books that covers 1500+ years, 40 authors, three languages, and a multitude of walks of life, yet one story from beginning to end! It’s the story of God interacting with His creation: Us. And, it’s ALIVE! (Hebrews 4:12-16– I always include 14-16 with 12-13 for the whole perspective).
The motto comes from verses in all four Gospels:
- Matthew 10:38-39 ” Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.* 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”
- Mark 10:29-31 and 42-45 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” 42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
- Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate [if one must choose between Jesus and] father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.”
- John 12:25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
From one moment to the next, we must learn to die to self and live for Christ. In fact, a powerful prayer is, “Father, I give all I know of myself to all I know of You today. Reveal more of myself to me even as You reveal more of Yourself to me. Tomorrow, I will pray the same.”
The Mark 10:29-30 passage, “a hundred times as much,” has always had me puzzled until recently. Then, it dawned on me (in other words, the Spirit revealed it to me) that what we give up as individuals we get 100 times back in collective family. When we give up our individual rights, possessions, and family, we become part of Christ’s family and possessions. We never get our rights back (dead people don’t have rights), but we gain heaven’s treasures (Philippians 4:19).
Is this the kind of life for which you signed up? If not, then the person who witnessed to you didn’t do his job very well. People must know what they are getting into when it comes to salvation. We give up EVERYTHING as individuals in order to gain EVERYTHING collectively as part of the Body of Christ, of which Christ is the head (Ephesians 4:15).
If it IS the life for which you signed up, or you have just decided that He is worth living for–or dying daily for, depending on how you look at it–then “Die to self; live for Christ” is the motto for us. We give all we know of ourselves to all we know of Him today. Moment by moment. “The main thing’s to keep the main thing the main thing,” which is following Jesus Christ, staying in constant contact with Him, and obeying His every command.
One more passage:
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:23-24
Easy, right? It is when we are walking in step with the Spirit.
Abba, I pray for my readers that they will grab onto this motto and make it theirs everyday. Dying to self is nothing more than seeking Jesus’ will over our own. The desire You give me is the first step; the second step is my actually doing it. Both steps together create my walk with You. You keep giving me the desire, and, using Your power (Philippians 2:13), I will strive to place Your will over mine. And, thank You for Your pleasure I feel when I am right with You. I would happily die for that feeling! Yet, You give it generously!!! Thank You, Father, for adopting us. You are a good, good Father. We are Yours. Amen.
*Do you ever wonder why Jesus put these statements in the negative? I do! Maybe it was to make the statement stand out, especially if the tendency is in the other direction. He implies that to follow Him is the exception and not the rule. Let’s be “Exceptionists!”