I had a beautiful, very godly young woman ask me one time: “How do you die to yourself?” She is a student in the college ministry I work for. She truly desires to follow God and love Him with all that she has. I explained to her that as I have grown (old) (-er), I have realized that this grand idea of dying to yourself is less about doing a grand thing, and more about doing the small things with grand purpose. I explained that dying to yourself is cleaning the dishes for the one thousandth time, even if it is your roommate’s turn. It’s doing these daily things with a good attitude. I think she was disappointed. I think she wanted more.
Don’t we all!? We all have something inside us that desires to make some grand gesture of our love and appreciation to our Savior. I mean, He died for us! It seems that we could do more than just keep a good attitude. We should do something big for Him! Surely we could all move to third world countries, give up all our wealth, but would that even be enough?
Living the Christian life is the difference between dating and being married. When you are dating, there are many grand gestures to win the love of the other. The grandest of all often being the engagement. Although these days, it could be just being asked to prom! I mean seriously, these boys are setting themselves up. If they do this to ask a girl to prom, how in the world are they going to top it for an engagement??? But I digress…
Where was I? Oh, yes, dying to yourself…dating. The purpose of dating is to woo the other. We so often say it is for the purpose of “getting to know the other person”. I say…baloney! It’s wooing. More on that another time. In the process of wooing, there is a lot of dying to yourself. The guys take the girls to the Nutcracker, and act interested. You know the story. It’s all done in effort to win the affection of the beloved. Guess what, you already have God’s affection! There is no need to woo Him with impressive gestures. The grand gesture has already been done! The engagement was made in blood over 2000 years ago.
If we are believers, we have said yes. We are awaiting the wedding day. That has yet to come. We are in a loooooong engagement. Which I never really suggest to anyone because it’s hard. And yes, this life is hard! We are in the long hard process of loving. Of constantly dying to ourselves and living for Christ. Here’s the part where we’ve gotten our theology of the cross mixed up with a theology of glory. Because you see, there is a bit of glory seeking in our desires to make grand gestures of dying to ourselves. But the two can never coincide. We can not die to ourselves, and gain glory. The cross, ours, and the one in Galilee two thousand years ago can only give glory to one: Yahweh. We give God the most glory, and show our love and appreciation most when we die to ourselves even when no one knows. In the hidden places, where self-glorification is not an option. It seems that this is the last thing we truly die to: our own glory.