“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
– Romans 6:11
Yesterday we talked about how crucifying the flesh looks different for every person. Today, I want to give you an example to illustrate this point. The bottom line is that when it comes to death to self, what’s good for the goose is not always good for the gander!
I recall a story that I once heard told by Joan Chittister about a super-nun, kind of like Mother Teresa, who worked every day with the poor and was therefore extremely frugal. One day, she was invited to have dinner at a very fancy restaurant with other people in her ministry. When she sat down, she looked at the menu and suddenly felt shock as she beheld the prices of the steaks, hors d’oeuvres, and wine that her party was ordering. With a rather righteous indignation, upset about all the money being spent on a meal that could instead go to the poor, she got up and stormed out of the room! Outside in front of the restaurant, she began to pray and tell the Lord how angry she was about the situation; however, she wasn’t expecting what she heard Him say in response. Certain that He would agree with her position, the Holy Spirit completely surprised her when He said, “Go in there and celebrate with them!” You see, though what she was doing in ministry was a very good thing, it was being tainted by her need to be needed, and she was beginning to project her self-righteousness onto those around her. In her case, crucifying the flesh looked like sitting down and having a big filet mignon and a glass of wine, the very thing that may have been problematic for someone else!
Unlike the woman in the story above, I don’t struggle with denying myself a steak; I’m the type who might be in the middle of enjoying a nice meal when the Holy Spirit prompts me to go and help some homeless people down the way. This is because it is God’s job to illuminate the parts of our lives in which we need to die to ourselves. Friend, I encourage you to submit your will to Jesus and allow Him to show you the unique areas of your life that need to be crucified. Even if they are hiding in the shadows of self-righteousness, God can and will penetrate your heart to illuminate the things that are keeping you from living your most abundant life in Him! Isn’t that good news?
Jesus, thank you for searching my heart and illuminating the things in my flesh that need to be crucified.
What has God shown you in yourself that needs to die?