Dying to Self

By Heather Templeton

 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

The old has passed away.

 

This is such a commonly quoted verse of the Bible, and yet I believe it to be one of the most difficult to live out.
Why?
Because we are both spirit and flesh.
They war, and we are quite literally caught in the middle.
Each day, each moment brings a new battle: a flesh choice and a spirit choice.

 

It should be a cinch.
On paper, it looks almost easy.
Jesus is stronger.
He triumphed over DEATH, and He LIVES IN ME. The God of the universe lives in me.
It’s awe inspiring.
I am more than a conqueror. There are no more chains.

 

But what happens when addictions return…
When loved ones are lost…
When marriages crumble…
When children walk away from their faith?
We war.

 

Our flesh feels the wounds that penetrate deep, and we struggle to wrap our heads around our Christian walk when all we want to do is run. Run away from the pain, the sorrow, and the grief.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Who will you feed?
The flesh vies for your very essence. It says self service is the way to go.
You can’t pour from an empty vessel, the flesh beckons. You must love yourself before you can adequately love others.

 

Oh but Jesus says there is a better way.

 

2 Kings 4 tells of a widow who fears her sons will be sold into slavery to pay her late husbands debts. She cries out to the prophet Elisha, who instructs her to ask for as many empty jars as she can from her neighbors, and then pour into them from her small bottle of olive oil.

She pours.
And pours.
And pours some more.
Only when she runs out of jars does the oil stop flowing.
I love this story. It speaks to the remarkable and unique way that the Lord chose to provide for her.
She had nothing.
She was going to lose her children.
She was desperate, and it led her to a place of obedience and then freedom through her faith coupled with action.

 

The new had come.

 

We will face hardships.
The day to day life we live will overwhelm and stagnate and threaten to break us at times.
Our faith will be tested.

 

Galatians 5:16 says “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
Self discipline and dying to self are core actions that we must daily put into practice if the spirit is going to silence the flesh.
Spending time in Gods word, constantly fellowshipping with Him … these habits strengthen our spirits while subsequently starving the flesh.

 

Jesus will never leave us.
The battle may keep pressing in, but He is a fortress when we need relief.

 

Press into Jesus.
Allow him to fill you, to overflow you, and to give you victory.
Relief may not come today, or tomorrow, or at all in this world.
But our lives are hidden in Christ, and one day we will see Him face to face. The entire world will pass away, and the flesh will be silenced forever.
Our spirits will be free, and everlasting life will begin.
Trust him today, friends. Trust him with the everything or the nothing that you are feeling inside.
Trust in His plan, His purpose, and His place for your life.

 

“So if the Son says you free, you will be free indeed.” {John 8:36}

 

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