Daily Dying

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, May 26, 2017 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

Last week I wrote about dying to self being the secret to living the Christian life, however, how do we do this? Paul says, “I am crucified with Christ, and yet I live.” He also said, “I die daily.” Jesus said we need to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him. Easy to say, but how do we do this? This post is likely to be the most practical post I have written for Worldview Warriors in 3 ½ years. I am going to share with you how God is having me put this concept into practice in my prayer time. It is not something you can do one time and be done with it; it must be done daily. The problem with self is that it tends to have its own resurrection powers because it keeps coming back, and it will until we shed our corrupted body for a glorified one. But why wait until then to start living that way? Why can’t we experience heaven on the way to heaven?

I am no different than any other person. I have had areas where I have struggled with sins. I am not going to mention what they specifically are because the concept applies to any area. What people struggle with is going to vary from person to person but it has one thing in common: it’s all sin. Can a Christian struggle with sin? Yes and no. Yes, they can get trapped in a sin and still be saved, but there is the difference between a saved person and an unsaved person. A saved person may be stuck in a sin for a time, but they hate it, they don’t like it, they don’t love it, they don’t defend it. They want free and to be rid of it. The unsaved person has no regard that such things displease the Lord; they will justify their sin, call upon the grace of God as a means of getting away with it, and have no desire to get rid of it.

When a person struggles with sin, it is usually because they have not laid down that area before the Lord. If someone struggles with pornography or sexual issues, that person very likely has not surrendered their sexuality or their sexual life to the Lord for him to direct as he desires. If someone struggles with gambling, the root is either in finances or greed, and that person has not surrendered that aspect of their lives to the Lord. If someone struggles with anger, they have likely not surrendered their emotions or their demand for justice (which is a God-given part of us, just like our sexuality is) to the Lord for his timing and execution. If someone struggles with gossip or their tongue, they have not surrendered their tongue to the Lord. If someone struggles with prayer at night or even their ability to get a good night’s rest, it may be worth considering if that person needs to surrender his sleep to the Lord to direct (that is no knock on those with legitimate insomnia, but even then, insomnia might have a root cause in trying to control sleep).

There is a great unfortunate reality that many preachers are not teaching this in their pulpits. When we are born again, it is not merely a decision to say “I am a Christian.” It is a total surrender to Christ. He is the ruler of our lives. We are bought with a price and our lives our not our own to rule. I have said for years now that the purpose of Christianity is to become less of us and more of Christ. What enables God to allow us into heaven is to NOT see us, but to see Christ in us. So how is God training me in this? This is something you can take home with you and practice.

When God revealed that I had not purposefully and intentionally laid down specific areas of my life for him to control and direct, I began to do that in my prayer time. I would start with the area I was struggling the most, confess my pride and arrogance to think I could control this area, and lay it down before the Lord. That would be the focus of my prayers for a few days. Then I would continue praying about that area, and then add another area that needed to be surrendered to the control of the Lord; not replacing that in my prayers but adding to it. I got to a point where I had four areas of my life that I would regularly lay down before the Lord.

Here is the problem. When you start practicing this, you may have initial success, but that flesh is going to start fighting hard. It is going to wait for you to start letting your guard down a little bit and it is going to strike. And it is going to strike when you are tired. I was going strong for two weeks and then I starting catching a cold and BOOM! I got hit and while I have been pushing to get back up it has been very difficult to do so. I won’t forget a few years ago I was doing a daily reading through of the Bible and then I went to a conference and I lost momentum. It took a few months to get me back into it.

Where are you struggling? Do not be generic here; be specific. Are you struggling with pornography? Are you struggling with a wandering mind? Are you struggling with a loose tongue? Are you struggling with respecting authority? Are you struggling with self-control? Do you want to see improvement? Does a sport or activity or social media have control of your life? Take that area of your life and lay it down before the Lord. It may take phases. Rees Howells laid down his finances before the Lord and said, “All my money is for Kingdom purposes.” But then God took it a step further. He asked if he could control Howell’s finances. Howell’s test on this area was when God told him he could not even buy a thank-you card without asking for permission.

Pray about which area you need to surrender to the Lord. Pray about that issue every day. Lay it down before the Lord, every day, and do not pick it back up. Then start adding other areas you are struggling with to the Lord. Do not replace the first area but add the second. Then lay both down before the Lord daily. Do not let your guard down because when you do, that issue is going to come back again. It may not act immediately and if that is the case it is watching to see if you are getting lax or not. It is waiting to see if you are getting some flab back. I am too new at putting this into practice to proclaim total victory yet, however, I can see the route to getting to the level of my walk I want to reach now. I need to walk it in his strength and power, not my own, and I need to walk it.

Laying down self is going to be hard. God often trains with three areas: sleep, food, and finances. Are you willing to allow God to dictate how much sleep you need and when to tarry in the night watch with him? Are you willing to sacrifice nice meals and eat what and when he wants you to eat? Are you willing to put all your finances at his feet to use at his discretion? Take one at a time and allow God to take control. Then add in another area without letting the other one go. As you get better and better at this practice, you will soon be able to simply lay down self as a whole each day and let God dictate all areas as he sees fit. The Christian life can only be lived if Christ is the one living it in and through you. I’ll wrap up with this quote from Eric Ludy’s Gospel presentation:
"Because if you try to imitate in your own strength, you will be a miserable replica. But if you allow the impartation of Jesus Christ to overtake you, suddenly it all works, because it's him imitating himself and he's very good at being God."

Let us put an end to self. Let us put an end to trying to do everything our own way. God knows what he is doing and he only knows how to do it right and good the first time. He does not require trial and error. He simply asks us to participate in his plan and do it his way instead of ours.

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