As we get down to the nitty gritty of what it looks like to crucify our flesh, I want to assert that it’s entirely a matter of the heart. This is why it’s so important to keep our eyes focused on Jesus and stay in tune with His voice, like we talked about yesterday.
In my experience, the church has often played games when it comes to the issue of dying to self by defining one, two, or three things that characterize what crucified flesh looks like. The reason it has been over-simplified is because it’s natural for us as human beings to want to set rules and regulations that are easy to understand and that everyone can adhere to; when we do this, we feel more in control. Perhaps this is why there have been entire denominations of Christianity defined by their “do’s” and “don’ts,” whether it’s don’t wear make up, don’t dance, don’t drive a certain car, don’t wear particular clothes, or do go to church three times a week, do embrace one style of worship, or do only certain things on Sunday. However, these external demonstrations of what we think of as crucifying the flesh are often anything but; in fact, I believe they make the Lord angry!
Friend, the irony of dying to self is that it’s not going to happen as easily as adhering to a defined set of rules and regulations. While you may be able to deal with some of your selfish passions and desires this way, what Jesus reveals to you about what should change in your life will not be the same as what He shows someone else needs to change in theirs. In fact, some of the parts of you that need to die may be the very things that your friend, neighbor, or spouse needs to embrace. This is why it’s imperative to listen closely to the voice of the Holy Spirit, to live life through the lens of God’s Word, and to have authentic relationships with friends and mentors who are willing to speak into your blind spots. I encourage you to let God search your heart and to yield your will to His in the areas He shows you. Only when you do this can you live fully in His freedom and power!