“Dying to self” is one of those truths that many of us see as a destination, when in reality it is only a door to something glorious. I myself at one time was guilty of this short sighted perception. Jesus once met a blind man at the pool of Bethesda. It was the practice at that time for anyone with any kind of infirmity to wait patiently at the pool for an angel to come from heaven and stir the water. When this happens the first one to take a dive into the pool will be healed of whatever infirmity they carried.
Now, Jesus stood before this particular man and asked him a question, “what do you want?”
This morning that question is directed at those of you who have been trying to live a life of self denial. Sometimes we are caught up with the complexities of the formula that we forget what it is the formula is supposed to do for us. Some other times, sad to say, many don’t even have an idea what the formula they are struggling with is meant to do for them. The man at the pool in giving an answer to Jesus’ question began saying that there is no one to help him enter the pool first when the angel stirs it, talking about formula and forgetting why he came there in the first place. Eventually though he came around and realised the mistake he was making. Then he answered, “I want to see.”
The reason for today’s discussion is simple. It is for us to know that dying to self is not the main thing. That refusing to let our life be an expression of our own will and selfish intents is not an end but only a door into a new awareness, a glorious one. That in giving up our life we establish a vacancy for a new tenant in our body, The Lord of glory. There is need for us to embrace the life of God in Christ simultaneously as we reject our own, put on the new man as we put off the old. Our joy should not be in the fact that we have successfully put off the old man, no. Our rejoicing should come from the fact that we have successfully put on the new man created in the image of God.
Jesus for the joy set before Him endured the cross. We must do the same, knowing that our present struggle is working out a glorious hope. We are not dying for nothing. We are not giving up our life for nothing. We are exchanging it for the life of God. This is the beginning of godliness: death. God has categorically stated in Genesis, “My Spirit will not struggle with man.” So, until man becomes calm, I will not act. Until man becomes quiet, I will not speak. Until man stands still, I will not move. And it is only when man gives up control that I will take over. So my dears, are you ready to open that door?
O LORD COME SOON!