In the Fall of 1984, Toni and I joined Youth With A Mission in Canada. While there, a young Canadian woman handed me a folded white sheet of lined paper as though she was on a clandestine mission. I unfolded the paper and found the following poem written in pencil. I read it every now and then to remind me and ground myself in the significance of true living through the death of self.
I confess that this is a huge struggle in my life, saying yes to God and no to self. As a matter of fact, it is my biggest daily battle, and many times, the battle is lost. On those days that I lose the battle of wills, I realize that I am saying no to the abundant life that God offers me.
I realize that physical death is, and always will be, the final threshold we must cross over one day. For some, this crossing will take us into the very eternal presence of God, and for others, into eternal separation and darkness. I have witnessed both my parents crossing the threshold of death into the everlasting joy of God.
We can practice dying to ourselves and self-importance. We can choose those things which promote life in others and for others. If we begin living in eternity now, we can therefore experience the Father’s everlasting joy in our present life and even in our suffering.
In other words, by living as Jesus lived and being made conformable to his death, we can become living fountains of life. Through our daily dying, we are reborn into his daily living. It opens us up to hear the same words Jesus heard from his Father and inspires us to do the same things Jesus did in obeying his Father’s wishes.
“This is my beloved Son, said God, in him, I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17
True Christianity is a daily battle of wills. We either obey the Father’s will and find life, or we obey our will and find death (separation). Dying to self is the proverbial “Fountain of Life” because it makes us into that fountain, a spring of Living Water, which is the Spirit and nature of Christ bubbling up from within us.
Okay, now that poem I had spoken about…
The poem – Dying To Self
“When you are forgotten, neglected, or purposely set at naught, and you don’t sting and hurt with the insult or the oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ, that is dying to self.
When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed. You refuse to let anger rise in your heart or even defend yourself, but take it all in patience with loving silence; that is dying to self.
When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, irregularity, impunctuality, or annoyance; when you stand face-to-face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility – and endure it as Jesus did – that is dying to self.
When you are content with any food, any offering, any climate, any society, any raiment, any interruption by the will of God, that is dying to self.
When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, record your good works, or itch after commendations, when you can truly love to be unknown, that is dying to self.
When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met and honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy, nor question God, while your own needs are more significant and in desperate circumstances, that is dying to self.
When you can receive correction and reproof from one more petite stature than yourself and can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising within your heart, that is dying to self.” – Author Unknown.
Are you dead yet?
In these last days, the Spirit would bring us to the cross. “That I may know Him…being made conformable unto His death. Phil 3:10
It is exchanging our will for God’s will, whereby we die to our will, which is no easy thing. But the rewards outweighs the difficulty.
If you let your own will and life go, you’ll become a fountain of life, and the Lord of Life will bubble up from within your heart and into the lost and lonely.
Let Jesus become that Fountain of Life within you by dying to self.