“Those who are dead to self are not controlled in thought, feeling, or action by self-exaltation or by the will to have their own way, but are easily controlled by love of God and neighbor.”
The key to restoring your soul lies in the ability to surrender your life, dreams, and desires to God. It may sound counterintuitive, but the quickest way to experience the abundant life that Jesus taught about, is to die to self. It’s when we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him, that we taste true freedom. Jesus goes on to say in Matthew 16:25: “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”
Being dead to self is not a one-time deal, but a daily process of little deaths. Please don’t confuse dying to self with self-rejection. In God’s eyes and through His perspective, we are so valuable that He was willing to send His one and only Son Jesus to die on our behalf, so our sins are forgiven.
I know I am dead to myself when I have relinquished control of my life. When I’m bumped through offense, or when there are delays and things don’t go the way I had hoped, yet I am undisturbed, then I know there’s less of self ruling my life. One who is “dead to self” doesn’t have to get their own way and nothing controls them other than the Holy Spirit. Knowing God is in control gives me peace as I trust Him to work everything together for my good (Romans 8:28). When I’ve died to myself, then I choose the position of humility and prefer others, and I want His will, not mine, to be done.
Even though it seems I am sacrificing when I’m giving things up and letting go, I am gaining so much more. Dying to self is the way to greater intimacy with Jesus and the avenue to freedom. When nothing has control over my emotions, then I am free. I experience freedom when the Holy Spirit alone governs me and nothing or no one else has influence over my behavior or choices.
If one definition of sin is: “I want what I want when I want it,” then freedom comes when “I want what Jesus wants when He wants it.” Your soul is restored as you choose to die to yourself.
“For as the surest source of destruction to men is to obey themselves, so the only haven of safety is to have no other will, no other wisdom, than to follow the Lord wherever he leads.”
Relevant Reflections: 1. Describe a time when denying yourself brought you freedom.
2. In what area(s) of your life do you need to die to yourself?