So many Scriptures show us that suffering death to self yields the life of God within us. Of course, this principle is most vividly demonstrated in the four gospels by the sufferings, ministry, resurrection and glorification of the Way Himself…
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant will be also. My Father will honor the one who serves me. (John 12:24-26).
Note that this Scripture spells out that serving God entails death to self – we cannot serve Him without letting the death of Jesus work in us. Spiritual formation occurs as we receive His grace to suffer death to self and the grace of His mighty resurrection power; grace to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant (Jeremiah 1:10).
As God removes the dross (our outer/natural selves), we are purified (our new true selves in Christ are progressively revealed in our jars of clay – see Resting in Christ). Praise God, this not only blesses us individually, but builds up the Body of Christ and makes disciples of all nations as Christ Himself is released to minister His resurrection Life through us. Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship (Romans 12:1).
It’s all so amazingly clear the moment our spirits apprehend this!
And isn’t it also amazing how quickly the veil of deceit descends upon us all too soon after receiving such revelation?!!
Ah, the Christian life is just indescribable! It is such a paradox! How crazy we appear to those God has not yet revealed His Son to. And yet the Spirit of God compels us to speak and write about it! (I am laughing out loud at the moment!) For I am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me; inside I am like bottled up wine, like new wineskins ready to burst (Job 32:18-19).
Praise God, our sanctification is His work – ours is to make every effort to enter that rest by trusting Him and obeying (Hebrews 4:11). Praise God also for His sense of humor! Letting go of self feels so good…
continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose (Phil. 2:12b-13).
Laughing and loving the freedom of our Lord Jesus with you, your sister deanna