“Dying to Live”…. It’s Not Just a Cliche’

Before I started really getting into my walk with God and going to church, I had heard the term “dying to live” many times before. I had mainly heard it from the world’s stand point. According to the world “dying to live” was their way of saying, you have to do whatever it takes to survive and make a decent living for yourself, or for your family. Even if that means stealing or resorting to prostitution. Whatever, literally means WHATEVER, and I’ve met people who have this mindset. There really is no limit to what they’d do to “live.”

It’s almost like the world is saying that eventually you die and there isn’t anything to live for there after. Once your life is over, no one is really thinking of your soul’s eternal life. For so long I thought it was just a cliche’ without any real meaning. Why would I risk my life trying to do something to the point I die doing it and then I never fully enjoy its benefits?

Then my question became. “What are you living for, and how are you defining your life?”  I just always knew, there was a better way of doing things. (Even if initially I didn’t reference it to God.)

Once I started going back to church regularly and getting more into my walk with God, I also heard this same phrase. Only this time I discovered it from a biblical standpoint.

Mark 8: 34-35 (Amplified Bible)

34: And Jesus called (to Him) the throng with His disciples and said to them, if anyone intends to come after Me, let him deny himself ( forget, ignore, disown and loose sight of himself and his own interest) and take up his cross, and ( joining Me as a disciple and siding with my party) follow with Me (continually, cleaving steadfastly to Me.)

35:For whosoever wants to save his (higher, spiritual, eternal) life, will lose it ( the lower, the natural, temporal life which is lived only on earth); and whoever gives up his life (which is only lived on earth) for My sake and the Gospel’s will save it (his higher spiritual life in the eternal Kingdom of God).

Now in this sense, “dying to live” means dying in order to gain so much more. Dying is a reference to allowing the old you (before you were saved) to die, in order to take on the new you who God is making you to be through walking with Him. In this sense, dying doesn’t just mean you’re living a life without an end, but that life isn’t just defined by what you do in the natural. Life in this case is based on your walk with God.

The world’s definition of life is based on something tangible and temporary. For them, life is only seen as something in the physical, and once that ends there’s nothing thereafter. However, from walking with God, I learned how to redefine my meaning of “life.”

Life in Christ isn’t based on things that are tangible. It’s based on the things God imparts into your life as you walk and fellowship with Him. While life in the natural is built around material possessions, Life in Christ is about preparing your soul’s eternal home. Eternity doesn’t necessarily mean “forever” but it’s more about the quality of life found in living for Christ.

Walking with Christ I constantly have to ask myself, what am I willing to loose to gain a more fruitful walk with God. Often we want to hold onto our old ways and mindsets. We become selfish in thinking of ways to gratify our flesh. We could easily spend time on earth trying to build ourselves up and define who we are based on status etc, but for what? All of that stuff is temporal. When we die, none of it goes to heaven. God only cares about your obedience to him and your soul. It’s okay to enjoy things while we live, but don’t get more “caught up in the creations than the creator” as my Pastor often puts it.

To lay down our fleshly desires to walk with God really isn’t much. Honestly, it only becomes much in the areas we resist God in. Think for a moment, what areas of your life have you not allowed God to fully come into? These are areas where your flesh is still living and you must tell yourself it’s time to die. I have to think of it this way, if I die in ALL areas, then I’m allowing God to come in and regenerate me in those areas. It’s like he’s breathing a new life into me in that area. I’m not saying to do this is always the easiest; our flesh will resist. But the more you learn to love God and the more you walk with him, then it becomes easier to not resist him and where he’s trying to take you.

When it talks about “denying himself” to me this really meant following God is ALL OR NOTHING. It is, because there’s no way to run after God if you’re still holding on to the old you. That’s a lot of weight to carry around and all you’re going to do is tire yourself out. At some point something must give. It goes back to the idea of serving two masters. You can’t fully serve God and still want to be the old you. God is really trying to create a new you.

I find myself in this struggle constantly. There are still some of my old ways and mindsets I have yet to completely let go and give over to God.It’s because of this I know I’ve spent the last 2 years of my life in this cycle of where I experience “spiritual highs” and I get “sprinkles” of walking with God, but I’ve yet to come into the full benefits of living for Him 100%. I mean I have to admit, there are times I find myself being “religious” and not fully grasping the concept of living according to God’s will. This post is not just for my readers, but it’s a battle I often face myself.

In the end, the truth is that we spend so much time trying to hold onto our temporal life to please the selfishness of flesh vs. trying to grab onto something eternal for our soul’s sake.

So again, I repose my question that I ask myself: “What are you willing to loose in order to gain a more fruitful walk with the Lord?”

Advertisements

Praise & Worship: “Great and Mighty”

I love praise and worship and I’m so thankful for YouTube! It’s lead me to find the link to many of my favorite songs. This link was actually shared with me by my best friend. Our praise team did this song one morning and I couldn’t find it for the life of me. So my friend end up sending me the link and now I’m going to share it with you all. Hope it’s something that blesses your spirit and it’s a great way to start off your Christmas morning. =)

Praise & Worship: Tye Tribbett’s Bless the Lord (Son of Man)

Praise and Worship has always been my favorite part of church. Sometimes a message will hit me through music before my pastor even gets up to speak. This morning, I decided I’d share with you all one of my favorite praise and worship songs that I started my day off with:

 

I hope this song blesses your spirit like it did mine. I want to work on doing more praise and worship before I start my day. It really helps in setting the tone for the rest of my day.

A Refreshing Presence

My devotion for today was simple, Acts 3:19 “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”

Something about God’s presence is always refreshing. If you’ve ever been away from God and then came back, then you can tell the big difference between being around him and what it was like when you left. It’s only in his presence that we can find healing (physically, mentally and spiritually), and also an intimacy.

By saying that God’s presence is “refreshing”, it’s something that’s continuous. A sense of recovery and renewal from simply spending time with him, outside of loving him for what he does. In my amplified study Bible it talks about wanting God’s presence more than his “presents” or anything else. Even if God never did anything great for you, his presence has been enough.

It should be an honor to be in his presence. Not everyone can have an intimate fellowship with him. God only reveals his mystery to those who love him. In order to truly get the full effect of God’s presence we must repent first and submit our wills to align with His and His Word. Otherwise, we can be in God’s presence and fight against it that we’ll never get the full affects of being “refreshed.”  The only way we’ll truly get refreshed in God’s presence is if we kill our old self. The old you before being saved must die, in order to start feeling the full effects of refreshing.

We must kill the flesh but allow God to do the healing in his presence. Can’t want to be “refreshed” and still be the same you, you were before. God wants to create a new creature. If we learn to stay in his presence long enough, we’ll become intentional and deliberate in following God for the change and not just for what he can do.

Patch Work

I can’t explain to my readers enough how much I love the way my pastor brings forth the word. He makes the word plain and simple and gives the best visual examples on the spot. He makes the Word practical for the avergae Christian. His teaching is very rich and I love leaving church feeling full. It’s great. When I rode the bus this morning, I found myself reviewing my notes from yesterday.

Something I wrote down was: “It’s not that God hasn’t sown the seed, it’s just that we haven’t fixed ourselves to carry the seed.” (This is one phrase among many that I wrote and I’m sure I’ll refer to these notes again for another blog in the near future.) Background Scripture: Matthew 13:1-9; Scripture: Matthew 13:10-16

When I heard this, I immediately thought to myself “I have some holes where I’m letting God’s seed slip through instead of allowing it to fully take root. These are the areas I need to patch up so that I can carry God’s Word out for my life.” Sometimes we have to realize that when we find ourselves fustrated with the same situations, we need to step back and start examining if we’re posititoning  our hearts to fully align with God’s Word. It’s not that God’s Word doesn’t work, because he’s not a man that can lie; but it’s that we aren’t doing everything we need to do in order to fully allow his Word to get deeply rooted in our spirits.

For example, one of my biggest struggles has been with men. (If you’ve been following my blog or know me personally then I’m sure you’re aware of this.) For me, it almost seems as if I’ve allowed God to enter into every area of my life except this one. I seem to be very guarded in this area and I find myself fighting tooth and nail with God instead of simply following. I said that to say, I’ve received countless Words and messages about this area of my life and I know the right thing I should do to get in full alignment with what God has been telling me. Problem is, although I know God’s Word is capable of working in other areas of my life, when it comes to men I’m constantly letting God’s seed slip right on through. For some reason, this is one area I haven’t fully allowed God’s word to take root 100%. Granted I’ve gotten better over the last few years, some of my holes have closed in this area, but there’s still a few holes that need to be patched up. (And a lot of this is my flesh and trying to break old habits and mindsets.)

Yesterday in church part of my prayer was for God to give me a heart of flesh in this area so that his will can be planted and take root in my spirit. Allow God to be EVERYTHING in ALL AREAS of my life.

Sowing a seed takes time. Sometimes, because we’ve built our old foundation on stony ground it can take time to break up the bad ground to create a better foundation for the new. The stony ground is usually our flesh and our old mindsets that have to be dug out of us to make room for God to plant a new mindset according to his will. Sowing is a process. God can sow a seed in 2012, but it may not reach maturity until 2014. There’s a lot that goes on under the surface before a seed ever starts to sprout. Once God sows a seed, the next step is to nuture it until it takes root. A seed will never mature or grow to it’s full potential until it takes root and has a strong solid foundation. For Christians, this foundation begins with God’s word. If there are holes in the foundation, then we’re letting seeds fall through.

I challenge you to think of areas in your life where you find yourself dropping the ball. These are the areas in your life you need to do some “patch work” on. Allow God to fill these holes with his Word so that you’re able to grow to your full maturity. A heart of flesh is key in allowing God to fully sow into you and grow into the Christain he’s made you to be.