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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Dying

Cheery, huh? Just stick with me...

I've been getting up at 5 in the morning to do a metabolism study at Baylor (ah, that's why she's talking about death), and on my way home this morning, I heard something on the radio that really resonated with me. It's something I've known for a while, but hadn't put into words, and this guy put it into words. The gist of it is, it's just as important, maybe more so, to die daily to self as it is to die physically for your faith. It's very difficult to lay down your "rights", your pride, your desires, sometimes more difficult than laying down your physical life. From where I'm standing right here, right now, if someone were to point a gun at my head and ask me if I believe in Jesus, I could say "yes" with little hesitation. But when Jesus asks me to lay down my rights -- the life I want, the things I want, the way I want to be treated by others -- I don't just hesitate, I stop and dig in my heels.

Jesus said that no one loves his friends more than if he lays down his life for them. Obviously, he did this. But I don't think it was just physical life he was talking about. We know he humbled himself before his friends, serving them by washing their feet. That takes some giving up of rights, and if anyone in history has had rights worth holding onto, it was Jesus. Jesus was able to die for us because he died to self daily. He was emptied of himself and lived by the Father alone (John 6:57). His physical death was basically an extension of his daily dying to self. I think if Jesus hadn't been as practiced as he was at dying to self, He wouldn't have been able to die on the cross. We know He really didn't want to do it, but He was able to say "Father, Your will, not mine". That's not a fluke. It takes some practice to be able to say that and mean it.

I'm certainly not trying to downplay Jesus' physical death, or all the believers through the ages who have died physically for their faith. But in my mind, I tend to see martyrdom as an obscure thing, some noble act of faith that I will probably never be called upon to do. But I am called to be a martyr daily, to take up my cross daily, to die a very hard death. I think this is mainly what Jesus was talking about when he told us to lay down our lives -- not only that we should be willing to die for each other or our faith, but that we should give up our fleshly rights, consider others' needs more important than our own, serve humbly, love when we don't want to -- all through the power of his life within us. And, we can only access that life when we are willing to put the flesh to death.

4 comments:

hoesayfina said...

well said...i can see how that fits with anger, frustration, worry and fear. We would not worry or be afraid if weren't afraid of losing/not getting something we felt we entitled to having in the first place. which, is something we wouldn't feel if we were willing to die in the first place. -m

Aaron said...

I think this is the "resurrection" that Watchman Nee speaks of in "Christ The Sum..." To die daily to our flesh as Christ did for us but let only Him in us be resurrected. It's good to be reminded of this.

Rishi said...

This is good stuff.

If I need to die for Jesus...fine.


Just don't hurt my feelings or it's all over.

Adam said...

Good words - thank you.