By Seun Ajia
Dying to Self
This month’s topic “What would you die to” is quite unique because this allows us explore a fundamental knowledge and understanding about our love walk with God.
In this write up I assume my audience are those in Christ, those interested in being in Christ, those who want to grow or those who coincidentally stumbled upon this article (and for you guys believe me this is not a mistake, just be patient and read on to the end).
I write this to let you, the readers, know that the aim and inspiration for this is Scriptural and is to the glory of the Lord.
What Is Self?
In this context, self will imply your will, your mind and your flesh.
And why is this important?
Because when you believed and confessed Jesus as your Lord and Saviour what happened was your Spirit was born into God’s kingdom (Born of God), or what we just called saved, but your appearance, your mind, your will . . . remains the same, not yet submitted to the will of God.
What does it now mean to die to self?
To die to self means to consciously become knowledgeable about your spiritual nature in Christ and walk in the light of this.
It means to become more acquainted with who you really are and willing to walk in the light of the scripture and not just live as you used to.
The bible is clear on one thing, even as a believer you do one of the two; walk by the spirit or fulfil the desire of the flesh.
Galatians 5:16 NKJV
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
Therefore, it is a conscious effort to do so.
As this is seen in Romans 12:2-3, it is also important we know that teaching your mind/will about your new nature is your responsibility. Yes, God gives us the nature to live like Him but we can only walk with Him based on how much we know of Him.
Roman 12: 2-3 NKJV
2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 3For I say, through grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God dealt to each one a measure of faith.
I will also like to clarify something here, you see walking with God is not behaviour modification. It is a relationship based on worship. The problem with behaviour modification stems from the fact that it is temporary, changes with situations, can be a form of bondage to the individual and is very inconsistent and channelled towards rewards, gifts and pleasing men.
If God wanted behaviour modification and individuals who take pride in their self-righteousness, there will be no need for Jesus to die in the first place, since He has become our righteousness (Romans 3:19-26, 5:18). The reason for His death is so there can be a change from the heart, which brings about true worship and service. Then in time you delight in the things of God and this is reflected on the individual’s behaviour with the right set of teachings.
Romans 5:18 MSG
Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life!
Don’t give excuses
I find it sad when a person’s discouragement for growth (Dying to self) is your character, your reasoning, your will. . . notice everything I wrote is “your. Being self-Conscious and not God conscious about your new nature in Christ is the wrong way to die to self. The weakness is the flesh itself, the you which is not knowledgeable about your true nature in God will only condemn you when you try to improve because you lack adequate knowledge and understanding to partake of the Spiritual exercise (Romans 8.1-17).
Things like “we are only human” or “God understands” are statements of excuse. In the long run they hinder your growth because your mind process, believes and acts on this subconsciously over the long run.
These statements are of the world. They are statements of deceit from the devil to play down the power, authority and privilege of salvation.
Ask yourself this, where in the New Testament, in any of the epistles written to the churches, did Paul exalt his inability in the flesh to grow in Christ or any of the other writers? None, they always demonstrated our strength is in the fact that we believe and walk with God through Jesus and the help of His Spirit.
The bible does speak of our High Priest who understands our weaknesses in Jesus Christ and tells us this is more reason to draw close even when it looks like that particular habit is stubborn. It is not impossible. We are still growing, in as much our foundation for walking with the Father is based on His growing love in our hearts (Hebrews 4:14-16).
Hebrews 4:14-16 MSG
Now that we know what we have – Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God – let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all – all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.
How do you walk in the Spirit?
Firstly, you establish a relationship with God through fellowship and communication with God (Prayer and Bible study). It is in-built into our spirit man to connect to God once you’re a genuine believer; just as for a baby it is inbuilt in them to walk, talk, run, grow teeth etc. So also as believers we have the ability to be like God in nature, but we need to know His nature in order to imitate them.
Secondly, it is a conscious effort. The spirit of God doesn’t force growth but desires that we all grow. Situations are often the catalyst that spark this in some, and for others it’s curiosity.
The bottom line is it has a lot to do with your choice in the end.
There are others; like people that influence us, what we mediate on and so on, but we will talk about those another day.
Dying to self is a spiritual process that requires one to understand what God now says about him or her, and not Men or yourself.
It is a continuous process that requires you to continue even if some characters are physically persistent in your life. The devil’s ultimate goal is to get you to doubt your salvation and live in unbelief. Positive thinking is not the Word of God and therefore only His Word will and can keep you, strengthen and guide you.
Remember we are Spirit beings that have a soul and live in a body, understand your spiritual nature to live in victory.
Part two available on request.
In the meantime, what are those things you find hard to deal with?
Seun Ajia enjoys writing, discussing and reading about who we are in christ, the totality of all He has promised and what we have inherited in him. He also has an Msc in Accounting and Finance.
You could reach him via email [email protected]
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