This post is part of my book launch, Meeting God at Wits’ End: Hope for the Weary …
Death to Self
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
Wits’ end is about death to self. Whether it’s our self-sufficiency, self-reliance, self-promotion, or thinking we can do spiritually good things in and of ourselves. This isn’t surprising because death to self is the essence of the gospel: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no long I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
Is death to self a one-time-for-all experience, or is it a daily reality? On the one hand, Paul’s old self was crucified with Christ; while on the other hand, Paul’s old self was still manifesting itself “in the flesh” through his inward corruptions. Obviously, the same is true for every Christian. The Christian life is about continually dying to self in order to experience Jesus’ life within us.
That’s why Paul also stated: “I die every day!” (1 Cor. 15:31). Interestingly, the context of that statement is in relation to being “in danger every hour” and fighting “with beasts at Ephesus” (1 Cor. 15:30, 32). The difficulties and dangers he experienced were meant to help him die daily to self and the snares of this world. The same is true for our afflictions. Many times, we can only deeply experience the truths of the gospel in times of great need.
In today’s verses, Jesus taught that the enjoyment of His resurrection life is related to our death to self. While these verses specifically relate to His death and, subsequently, Him bearing much fruit, it’s also in relation to our union with Him. In His death, our old self has died: “I have been crucified with Christ.”
Therefore, “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his live in this world will keep it for eternal life.” We have to lose our life—die to self—in order to find it in Him. Many times, the difficulties of life are needed in order to stir us in this process—prosperity caters to self, while adversity drives us to Jesus and the power of His resurrection. Therefore, God designs our difficulties for our good, discovering more of Jesus.
Jesus, help me to die to self, so that I will find my life in You.
The Devotional Writer
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