Learning To Die

I am learning how to die. I want the Holy Spirit to lead me in surrendering all of me, to all of Him.
And I’m scared.
It looks hard.
It looks painful.
It looks ridiculous.
It looks humiliating.
It looks like a loss, not a victory.

But I want to die so that I can focus on the Resurrection. And I’m not talking about Jesus’ death so much as I am about my death, and your death. Jesus’ death is finished.
It’s over.
Done.
Sunday came.
Sunday remains.
Sunday wins.

But my Sunday sometimes feels as if it hasn’t come yet. And maybe that’s because I haven’t allowed myself to die.
I’ve yet to truly die to myself.
To being a liar,
A cheater,
A hater,
A thief,
An over-privileged person,
A self-centered person,
A hypocritical person,
A guilty person,
A shameful person.

In fact, every command of Jesus is a call to die, with all our affections and lusts. But we do not want to die, and therefore Jesus Christ and His call are necessarily our death and our life.
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I haven’t died to these things. I still let them define me even though everything inside of me tells me they shouldn’t, that they don’t. Jesus begs me to be free from them, to hand them over. To let go. But I don’t. I hoard them, I replay them in my mind until they’re tattooed on my heart. I feel so unworthy of His nail-pierced hands open wide, ready to receive my stuff. He’s ready to create beauty from the ashes but I keep taking all my dirt back in.

I don’t like this cycle. It’s not fun for either of us.

So I want to die, and believe in it fully. What my Father did because He loves me, I also do because I love me. It’s a lesson in loving myself. I am worth dying for. I need to do myself a favor and stay dead to those things He took care of on the cross.

I need my laundry-list of grievances to die so that my redemption can live. I want to be redeemed. There is so much I want to live for.
Love.
Joy.
Peace.
(Ahh, heck… throw all the Fruits in!)
Patience.
Kindness.
Goodness.
Faithfulness.
Gentleness.
Self-Control.
(Ok, you can stop singing now.)
Justice.
Honor.
Truth.
Laughter.
Trust.
I want to die so that others can live:
I want my selfishness to die so that my possessions can be given to my homeless brother.
I want my hypocriticalness to die so that I can treat him like my brother instead of just calling him that.
I want my cynicalness to die so that I can support activists saving lives.
I want my fear to die so that I can take part.
I want to die so that others can live.

As Jesus explained, the right things have to die so that the right things can live- we die to selfishness, greed, power, accumulation, prestige, and self-preservation, giving life to community, generosity, compassion, mercy, brotherhood, kindness, and love. The Gospel will die in the toxic soil of self. Paul wrote, “we were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection.” We want the life part without being united with Jesus in the death part, but that version of Christianity doesn’t exist- that is a false gospel void of sacrifice. The fertile soil of death is where the gospel forms roots and actually bears fruit. We have to die to live; we have to die so others can live. It almost sounds like Jesus’ mission.
-Jen Hatmaker

The great news is, we’re actually redeemed… right now. Someone already died for me. I know. And I also know that I usually don’t get it the first time. (I rarely get it the second time.) So I need to die to, and surrender my old-self so that my new-self can shine through.

I want life, so first I’m choosing death.

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5 thoughts on “Learning To Die

    1. Thank you! Yes, I agree… Our sins, shame, guilt, striving, etc is already dead. No need to resurrect what Jesus already took care of- but the parts of our soul that still need refining, each and every day, are what need to be laid to rest…and since I’m imperfect, it’s an ongoing spiritual battle. Thank you for your kind words!

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