The cruelty of being asked to die

Originally posted on Facebook May 2, 2019

“It seems cruel that Jesus tells us to die to things… things we want, good things, important things… why is that the way we have to prove ourselves to Him?”

What if it’s not about proving yourself? After all, it is by faith alone you are saved; the only thing you can prove is that you are unworthy (but praise God for his love for us shown in John 3:16.)

What if Jesus is simply trying to show us how life really works?

We go about our lives doing the things and, in our best moments, inviting God to be a part of it. When troubles come, we work and pray to get out of them.

But God doesn’t want to be part of our life; He needs to be all of it. And Jesus says, “in this world you will have trouble”, so it’s futile to function as though it’s an avoidable thing.

No, Jesus knew that we are going to be often tempted by the enemy, and He left us with a secret weapon to stand against that: the Spirit.

But the Spirit isn’t simply a tool to wield; He’s someone to whom we must yield. As long as there is any part of us that is yielding to something else — desires, reputation, power, security — we are declining the power of the Helper.

We are also putting up a welcome sign for the enemy. It is though we are saying, “I really do want to follow God, but I also want this other thing. So, if you want to distract me or knock me off track, this thing is the area that’s not resigned to God; this is how you can get me focused on something other than God.”

For the battle isn’t against flesh and blood, but the spiritual forces. The battle isn’t about making the budget work. The battle isn’t about your job. The battle isn’t about getting that person to see things right. Sure, those are real things, but if our chief end is to honor God, those things are secondary; and if our life is meant to be focused on God, then anything interrupting that focus is a spiritual battle.

So what can we do? We can do nothing, really, but yield.

We can die to ourselves. It is like Jesus is saying, “Look, the enemy is trying to get you to turn your focus from me, and to that thing (finances, work, relationships, etc). The enemy knows that’s the way in. So if you know the door, why not just destroy the door? If you die to your right to that thing, the enemy has lost that way in. You can’t do that in your own power, so the Spirit will help you, if you just yield. The more you die to, the less access the enemy has, and the more dependent you become on me. If you totally die to self, you find full life in me.

Jesus is not trying to harm you. He’s trying to break you from temporal thinking and show you the only way to life to the fullest.




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