ARE YOU TRULY DEAD TO SELF?
DO YOU TRULY VALUE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD MORE THAN ANY OTHER THING?
WHAT IS THAT PARTICULAR THING OR DESIRE YOU ARE STILL HOLDING BACK?
IT MAY JUST BE ONE OR TWO…
To be dead to self in simple terms means to value your relationship with God more than any other thing, it means to be willing to lay down your life if it stands in the way to see Christ Glorified.
Many times we sing songs of declaration that we withhold nothing, that we surrender all to God. Surrendering all to God is an action statement. That is, it requires pulling down every possession, desire that we have exhorted above Christ in our life. These things or desires can be so hidden in our heart that we don’t know, it will take a defining moment to reveal them; like what happened to Peter. Peter then truly had left everything to follow Jesus but He didn’t lay down His reputation also that was why even though He was boasting that He will never betray Jesus He found Himself denying Him three times when a defining moment came.
Heb.12.1 – Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off *every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress.* And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us.
In Hebrews 12:1, the Bible identity two classes of the things that can slow us down and hinder when running the race set before us.
2. The Sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us
Weights are not necessarily sin in themselves, they are those things or desires that we have held fast to above God in our lives, they are addictions, desires… They can even be good things. But because we have exhorted these things above God in our life they have become Weights. One Characteristic of weights is that they slow us down or can even wear us out from running the Christian race. It was not a sin for Abraham to conceive Isaac, God was the one who promised that Isaac will be born but God needed to check if Isaac has become a Weight in Abraham’s life so He asked that Abraham should take Isaac His only Son, one which He truly loved to be sacrificed and it was a struggle but Abraham laid down the weight.
Weights truly are not easy to lay down but if we must follow Christ till the end of the race, we must lay aside every weight. Abraham was over 100 years when He conceived Isaac, meaning that He was far from being able to conceive at His age and that of His wife. But because God said it, it happened. So this could be a very good/genuine reason why Abraham should highly esteem His only Child Isaac. But because He valued His relationship with God more than even Isaac He was willing to let Isaac go if He is standing in the way. And this brought about the blessings that Abraham received from God.
We must be willing to lay aside every Weight if we are going to journey well towards eternal life.
2. The Sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us: As it suggests, these are the sins that we have become addictions in us, that we can’t easily do away with. The Holy Spirit is saying through Apostle Paul that we must also lay them aside if we want to run this race well. These sins can be so little as we may see it, it may be malice, strife, envy, lying, backbiting, selfishness, lust, pride… They might not be the seemingly obvious sins that we know, but they are sins. Sin is Sin before God so we must lay them aside.
What these things do is that it gives the devil access in our life to slow us down and eventually stop us from the journey of our Christian faith. The devil only needs a loophole, if he gets it, he will begin to build on it and if we don’t stop these footholds it will eventually become strongholds that have only one agenda to destroy us.
Remember the devil’s agenda: to steal, kill and destroy… It is through this means that the devil achieves His agenda in the life of a believer.
John.10.10 – The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness. (NLT)
If you don’t stop the foothold, it will eventually become a stronghold.
Dan.3:16-18 “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, Your Majesty can be sure that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” (NLT)
When we choose to stand out for God (living a sanctified life), it will truly cost us everything, even our very own life will be in the line. But, we must understand that even after everything is gone, since we still have God with us, we have greater hope.
It is easy to say that you will never betray Jesus, it is easy to talk down against Judas that he betrayed Jesus by selling Him out. He realizing it after he did that and going back to the pharisee to return the money they gave Him is a pointer that He also loved Jesus but the obsession with money which was a weight and sin which so easily and cleverly entangles Him lead Him to do the evil He did against Jesus Christ. This is how many of us are today. If Judas can betray Jesus, so also Peter who denied Jesus even though they saw Jesus face to face and even spent most of their time with Him physically, then we must also be vigilant and take heed lest we fall. We must hold fast to what we believe and grow in the knowledge of Jesus and the Father lest we fall.
Don’t say you cannot deny Jesus yet until you are completely dead to yourself. It takes a man that is dead to self to keep standing even though He is standing face to face with the roaring fire because The dead man is already dead, He is not afraid to be killed again.
Dan.3.19 – Nebuchadnezzar was so furious with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face became distorted with rage. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. (NLT)
Like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, when we see the roaring flames if we still haven’t died to self, that particular desire/desires that we still haven’t died to will cause us to turn back. It is only those who are dead to self who will not be afraid of the roaring flames when it appears before them. And it is only these set of people who are completely dead to self that even though the roaring flames appear before them they will still be standing, unshaken in their faith. This and only this set of people will be eligible for triumph over the roaring flames. God knows how to protect His own.
Dan.3.23 – So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, securely tied, fell down into the roaring flames. (NLT)
When the roaring flames appear before me, It is my deadness to self that will keep me standing because dead man (a man that values His relationship with God over everything), can’t be killed anymore, He is already dead.
A dead man can’t be killed.
Are we truly dead to ourselves?
Please ask yourself, are you truly dead to self?
One of the hardest things we must die of is our reputation. We must be willing to lay down our life if it stands in the way.
To live 24/7 for Jesus, we must be completely dead to ourselves.
Matt.16:24-26 “Then Jesus said to the disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life. And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (NLT)
If we are going to join the cloud of witnesses who have also run and finish this race we are running now, we must lay aside Weights and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us. To run this race well, we must look away from every one of these distractions and fix our gaze on Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. We must be dead to ourselves. It is hard, but we must die.
Heb.12.2 – We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in heaven.
All that this World has to offer are only temporary things, they have in them glory, but the glory of this world fades away. But the first thing that Christ wants to give a man is eternal life. The World and its rulers including Satan Himself cannot give eternal things because they don’t even have them. But God has them and He wants to give them to us, first of which is eternal life which is only found in Jesus.
1John.5.12 – So whoever has God’s Son has life; whoever does not have his Son does not have life. (NLT)
If you are yet to accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, why not do that now have eternal life. Believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is both Lord and Christ, that He died for our sins on the Cross, was buried, and that He resurrected on the third day.
1Cor.10.12 – If you think you are standing strong, be careful, for you, too, may fall into the same sin.
1Cor.10.13 – But remember that the temptations that come into your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you will not give in to it.
Prayer Point: I want us for few minutes, pray the prayer that David prayed in Psalms 139.
Ps. 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
Even as you have prayed, be sensitive God will reveal them, by His help through His Spirit give yourself to dealings.
Rom.8.14 – For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. (NLT)
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God Bless You!
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Written by: Okuyeme James.