No Shortcuts to Dying
I cannot forget, how one night my friend Francis, Porgie we called him as friends, came home drunk as a skunk! His dad, a strong, robust railway engine driver rapped him hard behind the ears and then started to chase him around the house. When Porgie saw an open window in the living room he just stepped on the ledge and jumped out. He hit the street below with a sickening thud of broken bones. Fortunately they lived on the first floor and Porgie, this Western Railway boxing champ, broke his collarbone and a few ribs, with a mean wound on his head that scarred him for life. He probably sobered in seconds. I remember sitting beside him all night in hospital as he continuously blabbered how he’d kill the world, as soon as he got out!
Some years later as a Christian believer, I stood beside Porgie’s coffin. Looking down at such a young, handsome and promising man, now dead in the prime of his life, I cried! I could not contain myself. He said he’d kill the world…now the world actually killed him!
Hear this! Porgie made a choice. Just like I did. We knew the same Gospel. We had hung out together most of our lives, growing up in a mean and vicious environment that made you do meaner things just to ‘survive’ and be accepted. Porgie’s choice was different than mine. I decided to follow Christ, in reality to die to myself and go after all the Bible taught. I had set a course in my life. I was not changing, not yielding…I struggled, yes! But I decided to die to myself and my desires. Not so Porgie. He wanted to live, and live he did. But, honestly, his choices led him to an early grave.
What about you? Are your choices getting you some place?
Listen…even in church circles, people wonder all the time how a Pastor or someone in the leadership could leave their wife and run off with another woman. People wonder all the time how a Junior Church teacher who loves the Lord could neglect her children and family because of alcohol. Maybe you are wondering how you could be raising your hands to Jesus, speaking in tongues, and being used by God to touch lives one day, and sinning against God the next.
The answer is when you fail to die to self every day; you are walking in the “flesh,” not the “Spirit.”
So how do we “die to self?”
The first step is an action, something that you must do. Dying to self is a conscious choice that you must make, nobody can make for you. It is the act of surrendering your life completely to Christ.
Secondly, the next step is dependence. You have just got to trust God and His precious promises to keep you going on in the areas that are truly surrendered to Christ. Even though I had come off drugs and lived clean, for the first six or seven months of my Christian life I wrestled with cigarettes. This was like a demon that kept coming at me from all sides. I smoked slyly, but then I would be filled with remorse and guilt. This would impede my worship and love for God. After confessing I would know God’s forgiveness for sure, but again be bombarded with thoughts and desires once more to slip back into this brutal cycle of the world dominating me rather than God. Till one say I shrugged it off, depended on God, got baptized in the Holy Spirit and moved on in victory.
And finally, keep in fellowship with the ‘dead’ and the ‘dying’! Oops! What do I mean? Simply this. Forsake not the assembling of yourselves, as the manner of some is…the Bible says in Hebrews 10:25. Nowhere in the Bible does it teach that we can ‘stay’ without true fellowship, commitment and love for one another.
All of the benefits in God’s Word exist and are available to those who believe, but there is a price to pay and that price is our very life surrendered, yielded to the Lord. It is a choice, an act, which nobody can force you to commit. The important thing for you to hear today is that it is not something you do just once and forget about. It is something that you must do daily! Everyday!!
The fact is, the Bible says that if you have asked Christ into your heart and live by faith, it is no longer your life, it belongs to Him!
Porgie was the only son of his parents, and the day we buried him their grief knew no end. Well, no one could make choices for him except Porgie himself. When I look back on my own life, I’m glad I began to die as a new Christian. Learning to daily carry the cross and follow Jesus. And hey!…I’m still dying today!
So go ahead start dying daily…!