Yesterday, we discussed what it means to die to ourselves, so today, I want to point out what that doesn’t mean. Unfortunately, many of us who were raised in the church learned that death to self means death of self, but this is not the case. There is an important distinction to be made here that keeps us from falling into the trap of legalism and self-condemnation.
Death of self teaches that I don’t matter and that all of my desires are bad or wrong. In other words, it crucifies me as an individual. This, however, is not how God designed it to be. He created each one of His children uniquely and with a purpose, and, as the Bible says, we are His handiwork, created to do good works. In other words, it’s a wonderful thing to have a will, to have dreams and goals, and to walk in your calling; you don’t need to subjugate yourself and become a doormat. The death to self that is required for agape love to win is a death to selfishness. Selfishness is what happens when we take our desires and obsessions to an extreme and enthrone them in our hearts, thus making them the most important thing in our lives. Therefore, when we die to ourselves, we take action that says that no matter how badly I want something, I want His will for my life even more; I remain willing to crucify anything that is selfish and not His best for me!
Friend, death to self is at the heart of Christian discipleship; it’s undeniable and it’s the thing that frees you to enter a world of total sufficiency. Death of self is not of God; He has given you dreams, desires, and destinies, and those are all very good things — just be careful not to enthrone them above Jesus in your life. Remember that it is His power, His goodness, and His strength that sustain you, so give Him the glory, surrender your ambitions to Him, and allow Him to continually lead you on the road to abundant life!