Apr 30, 2011

Dying Daily

Dying Daily is a subject that most people don't like to think about, let alone do.  It is a process of daily bringing our natural self into total submission to God.  To consciously saying, "I got nothing, Lord.  Use me today to do Your will, not my own."  Admittedly, until recently I never did that.   I have lived my entire life giving lip service to surrendering to God but never actually doing it.  I asked Him to bless me in my own pursuits and in my own desires but I rarely asked Him what He wanted me to do.

I think because I was afraid of what He would ask of me.  In my mind, surrendering to God meant giving up all earthly pleasures, selling everything, moving to some remote foreign land to be rejected by the people He sent me to save and dying a horrible death from malaria.  Surrender to God, equated to poverty, discomfort, sacrifice, and suffering - none of these things are all that appealing.  Hey, I am being truthful here, surely there are others out there that think the same way.

So how did I go from living for myself to submitting to God?  What brought me to the place where I die to self daily and give over complete control?  That is simple, He brought me to my knees.  Now I have been brought low before, faced hard times, suffered and walked through many a wilderness.  I was close to God during those times but never broken.  We have within ourselves untapped reservoirs of strength and will that serve us well in times of trouble but will also keep us clinging to self when we should have surrendered long ago.

There is a first death to self that occurs when we give our lives to the Lord, when we are born again and our spirit is changed.  We go from being a condemned sinner to a new creation in Christ.  This is eternal change that no amount of bad behavior can ever change because that would mean we were in control in the first place.  Notice though, when we are born again - two parts of our being are NOT changed.  Our soul and our flesh are not changed, these are what we have to learn to bring into check and into control.  These are the things that have to die daily.

Galatians 5:24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.

Maybe it is just me, but I fought this process HARD.  One day in early April, I died.  I died to myself.  I had no strength, no pride, no will, no illusions of my own beauty, intelligence, ability - nothing.  I wept before the Lord without the strength to raise my hands in praise.  In the end, all I could say was "I got nothing, Lord."  I wish I could tell you it was at that moment that the filling of the Holy Spirit took place.  I wish I could tell you that a white light shown down in my living room and the angels came to minister to my battered soul.  I wish I could tell you that peace, joy, and understanding replaced despair but alas they did not.  I felt utterly alone, even though I knew I wasn't.  I could not feel His presence, even though I knew He was there.  That was the purpose, I had to die and death is not fun.

So what has happened since early April?  Well, I continue to walk and pray with the Lord everyday.  Some days I stagger more than walk for this dying to self is not a singular act, it goes on everyday.  I am stronger and have moved into a depth with the Lord that is deep and meaningful.  Mostly, there is peace and understanding that His will for my life is better than anything I could ever plan.

So dear Abigail and Dolley readers I encourage you to take a step of faith and every morning before you get out of bed say to the Lord, "I give you my life today.  I surrender my own desires and my own will to You.  Use me today, fill me with your strength, your wisdom, and your heart.  Amen"