As a mom and wife, I am given countless opportunities to set aside my wants and sacrifice my love, time, and attention to the needs of my husband and children. Pouring yourself out like that on a daily basis can sometimes be physically exhausting; I find myself praying for supernatural strength often! Yet, at the end of the day, even though I am tempted to wonder where my “me time” is, my heart is always full.
This is when I begin to see more clearly what the Apostle Paul meant when he said: “I die daily”.
The Biblical principle of dying to yourself has always been true, but I didn’t always live it or even understand it. Becoming a stay-at-home mom has challenged me in more ways than I can count in the area of putting others before myself, and I am always learning and finding that it is truly more blessed to give than to receive.
As Jesus’ disciples, we are called to follow Him. That was Paul’s mission in life – to imitate Christ. And it is what he and the rest of the apostles literally gave their lives to preach to the world through their words and actions. We may not ever get the honor to literally die for Jesus Christ because of our faith in Him, but by God’s grace, we can imitate His selflessness every day.
The apostle Paul emphasizes his great desire to join Christ in His suffering and become like Christ in his daily dying of self:
“…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10, ESV).
To be able to imitate Christ and enjoy this kind of fellowship with Him, we must look to Jesus as our example. Even though Jesus was God in the flesh, He still leaned upon God the Father for everything He said and did while He walked this earth. Jesus would rise early to pray and seek God for His will for the day.
In addition to seeking God in prayer, Jesus obediently submitted Himself to the will of the Father, even unto death. Each day, we are faced with the temptation to satisfy our flesh and go outside the boundaries of God’s perfect will. We discover what that will is when we read the Bible and study it for ourselves to learn God’s ways. We are not perfect, but thankfully Jesus was, and because of His sacrifice on the cross, we have been given the precious gift of the Holy Spirit as born-again believers.
The characteristics of Jesus’ death should be the characteristics of our lives: humility, sacrifice, and glory to God through disciple-making. Ultimately, Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve others (Mark 10:45). Jesus ministered to thousands upon thousands of people during His time here on earth. John 22 tells us that if all the things Jesus did were all written down, the entire world could not contain the books that would be written! Dying daily definitely isn’t easy, but it is worth it because Jesus promises us that whoever loses his life will find it and find it abundant (Matthew 10:39/ John 10:10)!
But remember, we cannot die daily in our own strength, friends. The Holy Spirit is who empowers us to choose God’s way through the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). With each passing day, by God’s grace, we mature and cultivate a life worth dying for, a life found in Christ alone! Living like Christ’s dying is a continual process of humility and sacrifice. May God empower us to die daily and choose others above ourselves.
My flesh wants nothing to do with denying it of anything. I don’t want to experience suffering. But it is in those moments of dying to self that I become more like Christ. Help me to embrace those trials and sufferings so that I may grow closer to You. I want my life to look like Christ’s dying by learning how to be humble and sacrificial. Instead of resisting those difficult times, help me to find great opportunities of sanctification to be conformed to the image of Christ Jesus. Thank You for Your Spirit that empowers me to die daily. In Jesus’ name, amen.