“There is no other way to live this Christian life than by a continual death to self.” Francois de la Mothe Fenelon
Last week marked the first year anniversary of my Dad’s death. My Dad loved to collect all sorts of military items and had a large collection of cannons. In honor of my Dad, we shot a blank out of one of his cannons on our deck. I’m grateful my Dad is in the presence of God with a pain-free body. Not only is he free from physical and emotional pain, he is free from sin, free from offense and free from ever having to pay taxes again! Yes, dead people are truly free!
For the past twenty years, I have been in constant pursuit of freedom. Being free from the shackles of shame and being liberated out of the clutches of fearing man, releases me to be who God has created me to be. The Apostle Paul gave us clues in attaining liberty in Galatians 2:20. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Then in Philippians 1:21 he shares, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” It’s in death that we are made free.
Dying daily to our fleshly nature sets us free. To crucify our flesh is to destroy the power or ruling influence of the flesh over us. It’s to become indifferent to, or to cease to be under its power. The more dead your flesh is, the more alive in Christ you can be. Relinquishing our rights, humbling and denying ourselves is the pathway to freedom.
The world says, “Have it your way.” Jesus says, “Have your way die and My way live.” The world says, “It’s all about me.” Jesus says, “It’s all about My Father.” The world says, “Promote yourself.” Jesus says, “Die to self.” The world says, “My will be done.” Jesus says, “Thy will be done.” Following the world holds us captive, while following Jesus liberates.
When I’m dead in Christ I have no rights and I no longer have an agenda to promote or selfish ambition to pursue. My quest in life is to fulfill God’s will, not mine. If my flesh is dead then sin no longer rules and reigns in my life. If I’m truly dead, then what others say or do to me can’t hurt me; I won’t be offended. When my flesh is crucified I no longer fear man, but have a healthy fear of the Lord. Death takes away the attraction of sin and replaces it with being captivated with holiness. Sin becomes repulsive, while purity becomes appealing.
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being fully dead in Christ, how dead would you rate yourself? I don’t think our flesh can be completely crucified 100% of the time this side of heaven, but we can choose to progressively move in that direction. The more we die to self, the more likely freedom is just around the corner.
“Death is the supreme festival on the road to freedom.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Relevant Reflections: 1. On a scale of 1-10, how dead in Christ are you? 2. What specific sin(s) do you need to nail to the cross? 3. What new choices will you make this week to die to self?