Dying to Self

What do you do when trials and tribulations strike you unexpectedly? What do you do? How do you handle the sometimes unbearable burdens you have to bear without losing your faith or your hope? How did the early Christians live under unremitting persecution? How do persecuted and tortured Christians worldwide today keep their faith?

After you have striven against a trial, hopefully you will get to the point where you are at the end of yourself. You’ve tried everything and nothing worked. Sometimes how you tried to handle the problem made it even worse than it was at the beginning. You get to the point that you give up. You surrender your way and give it all to God. That is when you are the strongest--when you give up and rely totally and completely on God to work it out--you let go of self and put yourself in God’s hands.

2 Cor 12:9: "And he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

God takes the burden and gives you rest.
Matt 1:28-29: "Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart: and you will find rest for your souls."

These are very comforting words to you when you are suffering. They tell you that when you are suffering you are to allow God to share the burden right alongside of you.

1Peter 5:6-7 “Therefore humble yourselves under the might hand of God; that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

God loves you – He wants you to give Him your problems, trials, and burdens. He takes them from you and gives you rest. In so doing, you humble yourself by admitting to yourself once and for all that the only One Who can do anything at all about the situation is God.

Phil 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

It has been my experience that when I give a trial or a situation about which I have admitted I can do nothing, to God, He takes away the anger, fear, anxiety, frustration and replaces it with a peace that is difficult to describe. Things that would ordinarily cause me to react with fear, anger or frustration no longer seem to bother me even when the trial itself is not removed. I am calmer and more serene even in the midst of an ongoing trial. This must be what God refers to in His Word as the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding. But the only way to access this peace is to admit total defeat, weakness, and helplessness—to die to self.

Psalms 9:9-10 "The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You: for You, LORD, have not forsaken those that seek You."

You are to humble ourselves
James 4:10: "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will lift you up."

Humble – not proud or haughty, not arrogant or assertive, offered in a spirit of deference or submission, unpretentious, a surrendering of yourself.

Phil 2:3: "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.”

Jesus came to the earth to save mankind by dying on the cross. He became one of us -- human -- in order to do that. He didn’t come in glory, grandstanding; He was born just like you were. He grew up just like you did. He lived and died as a human without ever sinning. He surrendered His will to the Father. He never demanded what was His due as Creator, Lord and Savior while He walked this earth. He set a pattern of life for you to follow if you desire to be like Him.

Phil 2:5-13 "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."

You are to pray.
When He was troubled Jesus prayed to God. He didn’t take matters into His own hands. He went to God and gave it to Him.

Mk:6:46 "And when He had sent them away, He departed into a mountain to pray." (This happened the same day that He found out His beloved cousin John the Baptist had been executed, also the same day He fed the 5,000 with two loaves and two fishes before He went to pray)
Mk 6:22, 25-46 "And when Herodias' daughter herself came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those who sat with him, the king said to the girl, "Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you... "
”Immediately she came in with haste to the king and asked, saying, "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter." And the king was exceedingly sorry; yet, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded his head to be brought. And he went and beheaded him in prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard of it, they came and took away his corpse and laid it in a tomb. Then the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, "Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while." For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves. But the multitudes saw them departing, and many knew Him and ran there on foot from all the cities. They arrived before them and came together to Him. And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things. When the day was now far spent, His disciples came to Him and said, "This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late. "Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat." But He answered and said to them, "You give them something to eat." And they said to Him, "Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?" But He said to them, "How many loaves do you have? Go and see." And when they found out they said, "Five, and two fish." Then He commanded them to make them all sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in ranks, in hundreds and in fifties. And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all. So they all ate and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish. Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men. Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away. And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray."

Matt 26:36 “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, "Sit here while I go and pray over there." And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me." He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." Then He came to the disciples and found them asleep, and said to Peter, "What? Could you not watch with Me one hour? "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done." And He came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. So He left them, went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.”

Thy will be done
1Cor 6:20 “For you were bought at a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”

You were born physically alive but spiritually dead into bondage to sin. When in faith you accept Jesus’ sacrifice as atonement for your sins, sin is put to death and you are raised from your life of bondage to sin. You die to sin and are raised to life—spiritual life. You were bought at a great price. You are no longer your own. God owns you. You are His. Everything you have and are is His. Nothing belongs to you anymore. You are, as it were, His “slaves”. Everything belongs to Him. You belong to Him. You now live your life to His glory and praise in grateful, humble obedience to Him. You are to die to self so that you will be raised to life in Him. You are to take captive every thought and discard or prevent entry to those that do not conform to His Word or to the pattern Jesus set for you.

You are not your own and you were bought at a great price. When you answer His call and accept Jesus into your life and are baptized to show the world you are His—you accept His awesome sacrifice as a perfect atonement for your sins—you are expected to surrender your life to Him. It sounds easier than it really is to do. You have a firm, inherent desire within you to be the captain of your own life. That is what got Adam and Eve and Lucifer in such hot water. They desired to direct their own lives rather than surrender them to God and trust that God is a better judge of direction than they were. Right from the beginning man has resisted God’s hand in his life. Look at where you are today because of that.

Jesus gave His life for you and you are to give your lives to Him in surrender and submission to His direction and guidance using His manual for life, the Holy Bible. You are to live according to the pattern He set for you from examples from His life. The Father was the captain of Jesus’ life from start to finish. You must, as Christians, do likewise. That is not the pattern of this world. You are to come out of this world’s pattern of living. You are to die to self as Jesus died to self. The only examples that I can see in the Word of anything Jesus did for Himself, was to retire to a quiet place and pray frequently. Everything else He did was for others.

Your will no longer matters once you are His. You are to spend the rest of your life learning to trust that God knows what He is doing in y life even if you can’t see it. You are to live by faith, trusting God to handle your life. After all, He is the Creator of everything seen and unseen. He gave you free will, but desires you to voluntarily give up that free will and to trust Him, to trust His handling of your life—to live by faith. To understand that He sees farther and clearer than you ever could what is ahead of you. He knows what you can and cannot bear and how much you can bear. If you always look to Him in times of trial instead of trusting your limited knowledge and efforts, He will give you the strength not only to bear it but also to grow from it.

1Cor 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

You are to live by faith.
Gal 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Heb 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

You are told you should even rejoice in your trials because when you come through them you grow spiritually in ways that you never could otherwise.
James 1:2-4 "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."

Phil 4:19 “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

You are to ask for wisdom.
James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

God gives you the wisdom you need to bear a trial, if you ask Him in faith and put it in His hands, trusting Him to do what is best for you. God speaks about your good—not necessarily your physical good, although He may do that, but most importantly for your eternal good.

Rom 8:28-31 "And you know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall you say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

If God is for you, who can be against you.

You are to abide in Him
Abide – Wait, bear patiently, rest in, stay, continue
John:15:1-20 "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. "As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. "These things I command you, that you love one another. "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.”

You are grafted into the Vine, into Jesus. He is the vine --you are not vines anymore—you are now branches—grafted into Him—trusting that the sap of His Holy Spirit will sustain you so the vine (He) can produce fruit for the branches (you) to bear. Branches do not bear fruit without the sap—just as you cannot bear fruit without the Holy Spirit in you enabling you to bear that fruit. Branches do not bear fruit without the sap of the vine running through them and feeding them. Branches can do nothing by themselves. Branches have to surrender to the vine and trust that the sap will produce the fruit. If anything constricts a branch, the sap cannot get through to nourish it enough to produce fruit. The vine produces the sap that produces and feeds the branches that bear the fruit that the vine produces. The branch lets go and allows the vine to produce the fruit. The branch abides in the vine.

You have to let go of self. Self thinks only of itself. Self is selfish, self-seeking, self-centered, self-absorbed, self-sufficient, prideful, arrogant, etc. Self is the center of its world. Self says “I can do it all by myself”. Self says, “I don’t need anyone’s help.”


Trust in God’s strength and power
Phil 4:11-13 "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Matt 19:26-27 “But looking at them, Jesus said, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”
Mark 10:27 “But looking at them, Jesus said, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”
Luke 1:37 “For with God nothing will be impossible.”
Luke 18:27 “But He said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”

So when you have trials and burdens, give them to God. Surrender your will and trust Him, for nothing is impossible with God and He loves you. He will take care of you, if you let Him.

 

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