What does it mean to die to self? How can that be a good thing? I have to “die” in order to “live?” What’s up with that? Let’s look at it. In Mark’s Gospel, chapter 8, verse 35 we read that “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” Wow, on the surface, that sounds contradictory, but is it? Let’s look at it differently, then. When I was a child and wanted a treat, I’d ask my parents and sometimes the answer just seemed so wrong. It seemed as though what I wanted was either met with a “no” or a “not yet.” For example “if you clean up your room, then . . . “ Well, shoot, cleaning up my room wasn’t fun. What kind of treat is that? Will I like what I get when I clean up my room? Maybe I should forget the treat. So, my room’s messy. I can usually find everything. Yes, the treat I wanted sounded good, but, I can live without it. The example is very elementary, but perhaps we sometimes make life a lot more complex than it is? Oh, come on, don’t you? I know I do. So, how can dealing with the crud in my room relate to dying to self?
Well, our Lord wants what’s best for us. He knows what’s best for us. When I think about the times He’s said “no” or “not yet” the prize I received “at the appropriate time” was amazing. Before I could receive His blessing, I had to clean up my act some. I needed to realize that I didn’t know best and give up my own foolish willfulness and follow Him. Not unlike all those things I wanted when I was a child that I didn’t “get” until I cleaned up my room, grew up a bit more, was more prepared to handle them. Giving up our own sinful ways and following the Lord doesn’t mean life will be simple, but it sure will be better than denying Him and going it alone. The bumpy patches on the road won’t make me fall because I’m holding His hand. The “good enough” life without Him that really wasn’t all that good? It’s nothing compared to eternal life in the Kingdom of God. No, life won’t be a dream come true. It’ll be even better!