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?”