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Summary: This work reveals, from scripture, the need to die to ourselves and live life for others.

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DEATH TO SELF

Aaron Johnson

“Die out to self” the old man with the bad breath and thick eyebrows shouted as

he pounded his fist through my back. It is the close of a hot, muggy camp

meeting night. There is a crowd of people shouting and crying kneeling in the

sawdust around the altar. After a message on Heaven and Hell, and a closing

illustration about a girl refusing God then dying at the end of the night, the

invitation is given, and the people come.

Die to self. It is a simple phrase. It is one heard many times by those growing up

in the Christianese abundant, church world. In the heat of the altar call it is used

to mean kill all your personal desires and let God have total control of your heart

and life, stop directing yourself. But, in reality death to self is so much more. It

is dieing to yourself spiritually (letting God have control of your life), but it is also

dieing to your wants, desires, hobbies, needs, career, goals, ambitions, and all

else that is the fleshy me. It is dieing completely to you, and living wholly for God

and His purpose of bringing others to Him and His Kingdom.

However, as Christians true “death to self” is not usually found. Most Christians

are concerned more with being taken advantage of, or cheated out of something,

or taking life easy, and the “what about me” attitude. Who do we think we are?

How good of Christians are we if we cannot even follow the first step to a walk

with Christ, giving all our lives fully to Christ? As we see through the Word, this

is what God requires, true, complete “death to self”.

Paul knew what it was to be completely dead to self.

Acts 20:24 "But I count my life of no value to myself, so that I may finish my

course and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of

God’s grace.”(HCSB)

To fully grasp Paul’s heart here we need to look a few verses back in the

chapter. We see what’s happening here is that Paul is on his missionary

journeys, traveling church to church, town to town. He knows that God is calling

him to go to Jerusalem, however, in every church that he goes to prophets are

coming to him telling him (through the Holy Spirit) , “don’t go to Jerusalem, you

will be captured and bound in chains, and thrown in prison”, “bad things are

going to happen in Jerusalem.” He knows that this is true, but he also know that

is where God is sending Him.

It is as if a man and his wife are praying about moving. They both feel as if they

should move to Atlanta, so the husband applies for a job, and they call him for

and interview. The husband gets his plane ticket and everything in order to go.

But, the wife comes to him and says, “I have a bad feeling about this, I don’t

know what it is but something bad is going to happen.” The husband replies that

this is where God wants them so he must do what God is asking. He goes to

Atlanta, he gets through the interview, he gets the job, and he’s excited. On the

way back to the airport he stops at a gas station to fuel the rental car. While there

he gets mugged. He’s a little bruised up, his wallet and money is stolen. But, for

the most part he’s fine. This is kind of Paul’s deal. He’s following God’s will, but

something bad is still going to happen.

See, Paul is not concerned with himself or his life, because he gave everything to

Christ long ago. If it is Paul’s time to die then that is up to God. Paul says, “my

life is of no value to me”, Paul was focused. He lived for God and His purposes.

Even though he knew bad things were going to happen to him, he still had to

fulfill God’s will for his life. It is not about him it is about Him. You cannot hurt

what is dead. Paul was dead.

Galatians 2:19-20 “For through the law I have died to the law that I might live to

God. I have been crucified with Christ; and I no longer live, but Christ lives in

me. 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.” (HCSB)

According to Jewish law (Paul was a Jew) to eat with Gentiles (non-Jew) was

culturally unacceptable. The people were watching Paul eat with these non-

Jews, and talk about how God wanted these people in His Kingdom. So, to the

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