We Need To Die … Daily!

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Ps 51:15-17 O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. ESV

God will show us daily those parts of our old fleshly nature that He wants to remove through the refining process; a process that never ends. It is repeated over and over as we mature under the love and guidance of the Holy Spirit because we are quite incapable of completing the process by ourselves. Our part is to submit to the refining, maintain a contrite (repentant) heart, and a submitted spirit. But without the Holy Spirit it is quite impossible to make the changes that dying-to-self requires. While there are many things we can do and control during the process, the Holy Spirit has to bring about the change. Too often we respond by going through some outward process of our own design, albeit with a heart toward change. But the result is always superficial and short-lived at best.

Taking on the task of changing in our own power and strength is a guaranteed recipe for failure, and the worst part comes after we fail when the enemy brings all the guilt and self-doubt associated with our failure. His job is to convince us that it is useless and we can’t change. Guess what? He’s right. We can’t change by ourselves because we don’t have the strength and power that is required. So how do we die-to-self?

Zech 4:6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts. ESV

The Lord wants us to first acknowledge that what He is showing us needs to be changed in our life and the first step in that process is to hear His voice. This requires both desiring to hear it and actually spending time listening for it. When our heart is submitted in this way, He is always faithful to show us those areas that He wants to change. The next step involves agreeing with Him and submitting to that change. Those two steps are the keys to the process of dying-to-self; agreement and submission.

The Lord wants us to admit that we need to change, that we are incapable of changing by ourselves, and that we are willing to let the Holy Spirit change us by His might and His power. This requires us to follow His leading and that will ultimately require action on our part. The reason we so often fight this action is because it is usually uncomfortable and painful. Remember, meaningful change always comes with a personal cost, but that cost brings us ever closer to Jesus. The more readily we agree to pay the price the faster and easier change becomes. But how do we count or value our personal cost in light of the price He paid for us?

David was right on target when he counted the cost of personal growth. A broken spirit and a broken and contrite heart lifted up to God in praise are the sacrifices He requires. Our Father cherishes them when we, His children, offer them up in response to the leading of His Spirit.  David offered these up in the temple and we offer them up within our heart, for it is there that the temple resides today.

1 Cor 3:16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? ESV

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