Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:8)
The process of Christian maturity requires daily dying. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20).
“…it is the secret of my sanctification, for on that cross of Calvary, I, the sinful self, was put to death; and when I lay myself over with Him upon that Cross and reckon myself dead, Christ’s risen life passes into me and it is no longer my struggling, my goodness, or my badness, but my Lord who lives in me. Therefore while I abide in Him I am counted even as He, and enabled to walk even as He walked.”
Matthew 16:24, Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
Romans 8:13, For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Jesus’ example is unimaginably beyond words. It is breathtaking. There, in the garden, deep in anguish, laboring in prayer the Son pours out His heart to His Father. He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will (Matthew 26:13).
Jesus made a choice late that afternoon. Actually, He made the choice long before that day; but that evening in the garden He died to Himself. At many moments along the painful path, Jesus could have said “no” and called down the power of heaven to stop the pain. But He chose instead to say “no” to Himself and “yes” to God the Father. Jesus died to Himself, long before He died the excruciatingly painful death on the cross of Calvary.
We may or may not be called to die for our faith, but we certainly are called daily to die to ourselves. Jesus did not need to deny Himself because of a sinful or selfish desire (like us) but rather because He was about to take onto His sinless self the weight, ugliness, and devastation of the sins of the whole world. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us… (2 Corinthians 5:21). And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world (1 John 2:2).
Will we choose our way and our agenda, over and above the path of dying to self, or will we choose to fully embrace life that only comes from God?
This devotional was first published in Real Victory for Real Life Volume 2.
 Simpson, A.B. The Christ Life. 1980. Christian Publications, Inc. Harrisburg, PA.
Written By Diane Hunt: Diane Hunt serves on the board of America’s Keswick and provides ministry support from her home in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at email@example.com.
Think About This: “We are not meant to change God’s message. God’s message is meant to change us.”