Death To Self

death-to-self

This is going to hurt. I am going to be real transparent here but I know that it must be done. I need to die to self. I need to come to the place of truly dying to my flesh. My flesh has died before but it just won’t stay dead! September 5, 2011 I died to self and turned my eating habits over to the Lord to lead and guide me. The reality however is I didn’t stay dead for very long. The truth is there is just no way to overcome the flesh on our own.

 Let’s read a few verses from the Bible:

Galatians 5:24 ~ Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Romans 6:11 ~ Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

These were the verses I shared back in September 2011. Now let’s take a look at another verse:

Galatians 2:20

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.

Did you see what I saw? “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me”. Hmm, yes that changes everything. I keep trying to make my flesh die but I think what really needs to happen is that I need to surrender. I need to remember that Christ lives in me. And since He lives in me, I need to do what the rest of this verse says “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.

Now let’s look at another few verses:

Colossians 3:1-4

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.  For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

 

Now let’s read just verses 3-4 in the Message Bible:

Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you.

 

Wow.

 

I wrote the following in 2006, if I’m not mistaken it was after my Pastor spoke on dying to self. I am not even sure if I am the one who wrote it or if it was from my notes from the sermon. I am reminded today though that this is what needs to happen in my life if I am to be successful at getting healthy and losing weight. Quite honestly, this is what needs to happen for all of life. I apply it today to this journey of moving toward better health but death to self is really about living daily for Christ.

When you are dead to self, you no longer are drawn to the old sinful habits of your past. You will no longer respond to people who scorn you or speak evil of you, you just pray for them and love them.

When you are dead to self, nothing affects your walk with the Lord. Nothing can move you from your place in Christ Jesus.

When you are dead to self, you no longer are self-absorbed with your problems and situations instead you are ready to help others through their trials.

When you are dead to self, your focus is on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. You have a yearning to bring others to Him so they too can receive forgiveness.

When you are dead to self, you are drawn more to the things of God then to the things of the world. You would rather read your Bible than watch TV all day. You would rather minister to someone in need than sit and sulk about your own problems.

When you are dead to self, no matter how bad your day is going you still smile at your neighbors and you praise the Lord for each and every moment of your bad day.

When you are dead to self, your focus is on the Lord and how you can be used by Him to further His kingdom.

Dying to self is a daily process.

To be continued…

Genuine sanctification … is nothing less than a daily dying to self and daily conformity to the will of God. ~ Ellen G. White

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I Died Last Night!

It was bound to happen, It was time afterall. So after two days of vegging out on the couch watching 4 seasons of Burn Notice and ordering food from the local pizza place three times I finally hit the bottom of the pit that I was dwelling in for a few months now and there was nothing more that I could do but die. Praise God I made the decision to die to my flesh and start letting the Lord get through to my thick little skull. All day long for both days I saw glimpses of God speaking to my heart and I couldn’t take you back to those things that I read because they came from several directions but the signs were clear to me that it was time to get up and out of the pit, not on my own but by putting my hand in the Lord’s hand and allowing Him to help me climb out. I’ve been frequenting the pit that I had once deserted and I think I was starting to get comfortable there again. Oh I tried to get out. I stepped out a few times and thought I was okay. I tried to motivate myself to do the things that I knew the Lord wanted me to do. He called me to lose weight, lose sin, lose bondage, etc. I was running a good race and somehow something cut in on me and threw me for a loop and there I was back in that pit. I didn’t want to be there but I found that I just couldn’t get out. I let the smallest things get in the way of my walk with Jesus. I walked right back into sin.

But last night I was granted true repentance from God. I know it was true repentance because I’ve repented so many times over the past couple months and yet I still sat in the pit shackled to the chains that bound me to the sin of gluttony. I was convinced in my head that I was trying to get control of it but I was in total darkness and could not even see my hand in front of me. I was blind and separated from God because of my sin.

I am amazed continually at how much Love that Jesus has for me. I being the fleshly selfish human that I am would have given up on me a long time ago. But not Jesus, He continues to pursue me even when I am in rebellion. WHY? Why would He continue to pursue me when I continue to fail Him over and over and over? He died on that cross over two thousand years ago to save me not because I was worthy but because He loved me. And the Word of God says He will never leave me nor forsake me and so therefore He continues to pursue me and waits for me to turn from the sins that bind me in darkness and look at Him and let the Light of His Love permeate me to the core. I can relate to why Adam and Eve hid in the garden when they sinned. I know why now, they were separated from God because of their sin and they no longer knew how He would respond. Their sin blinded them and put them in darkness so they no longer had a connection to God. I lost my connection to God because I was choosing food over Jesus. Ugh! Just writing that pains my heart but it is the truth. I know you might be thinking that I am being hard on myself and I hope that is not what you are thinking because the bottom line is that sin is sin.  I didn’t make the rules. I didn’t write the Bible. God did, He set the standard and we can try to minimize it based on our cultural ideas or upbringing but it won’t hold up to the Word of God. I have to be honest with myself and examine my own heart and allow the Holy Spirit to really examine my heart and show it to me. I cannot do anything without Him. I have to get right with God when my life is not lining up with what He has set forth for me. I have the choice. Every day, every hour, every moment. I have the choice to choose to live in obedience to God or live in sin. There’s no middle ground. So as I came to the place of true repentance I received the refreshing that is promised in the Word. (Acts 3:19)

I woke up today with a new perspective, I woke up with a clear vision. I’ve been resurrected (if you will).  The Word says we are to crucify our flesh, well guess what I died last night and I am so glad I did because I feel so much better now. I am connected with my savior once again. I have taken my place once again as the princess of the King. I refuse to listen any more to the lies of the enemy that condemn me and keep me in the pit of darkness and despair. I am free because Christ has set me free. I will move forward and allow the Holy Spirit to challenge me and search me every day and show me my heart so that each day I live to honor Jesus Christ with my life and give glory to God. I know this time will be different, I feel it and I am determined to walk this out and not let anything else get in the way. Today I re-commit to offering my body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God by choosing to eat the way He wants me to eat and not allow the sin of gluttony to control me. For every temptation has a way out, I just have to keep my eyes open and choose to take the way out every day, every hour, every moment for the rest of my days. Praise God I have a choice, as long as there is breath of life in my nostrils I have the opportunity to honor God with my body, my mind, my whole life. This is my choice. This is my commitment. Thank you Jesus!

Galatians 5:24 ~ Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Romans 6:11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ~ Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

Weight Loss Part 2

In continuation of my previous post we were talking about how we make the decision to eat healthy and exercise and then we start strong and then at some point lose the momentum and go back to our old habits. We resolve that we look fine the way we are and people just need to accept us. Well the truth is that is just an excuse. Maybe we do look fine the way we are and yes people should accept us but for those who are like me that are overweight to the point where it’s really affecting our health and our daily life we cannot keep making excuses. We need to face reality and stop saying that we want change and actually do it. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Sure it does but the reality is it’s not that simple.

Over the years, I have tried just about every diet and like a lot of people I lost weight and then I gained it back. I’ve tried it all with the exception of weight loss surgery. I was planning on having the gastric bypass back in 2004 and I started researching it and there were several friends of mine that did it and it worked well for them. But I had prayed and asked God to only allow me to have the surgery if that was His will for me. I found out that it was absolutely not His will because twice I was scheduled for surgery and something happened that made me have to cancel. I believe the Lord showed me that He made my body perfect, with all the right organs and He designed my body to function properly and why should I have to alter His creation so that I could lose weight. No, He wanted me to learn how to be disciplined and He wanted me to learn how to take care of my body that He created so that I could also encourage others to do the same.  It was my undisciplined life and unhealthy food choices along with a sedentary lifestyle that put the weight on me so it was not something I needed a surgeon to repair, I needed to learn to let the Holy Spirit lead me and guide me in every area of my life.

A little over a year ago I took a Christian web course to help me lose weight. It pointed out the fact that gluttony is a sin. I lost 51 lbs and while the program was excellent and I know it was the Lord that led me there, I guess I wasn’t quite ready to really surrender my weight and my gluttony over to the Lord. Oh I said the prayers and cried and went through all the motions and when I felt like giving up I felt guilty because I had a mentor and an accountability partner so I couldn’t just give up. The two ladies who were helping me through the course were wonderful and I know today that there were many lessons for me through that journey but after the course was over I fell again. This was my big crash and burn type of fall. I gained almost all my weight back. My life spiraled out of control between major life changes and overwhelming stress and finally depression. It was pretty ugly. I got to a place where I felt that I was going to hell because I had failed God by gaining my weight back. I failed Jesus by taking my eyes off of Him and looking at my circumstances and letting them overwhelm me and consume me. I was a mess. Then I went through a time of trying to figure it all out. What happened to the freedom that I was walking in? What happened to my passion for Christ and zeal for evangelism and my desire to help people and be an encourager? What happened?

To be continued…..