Can you imagine living a life without sin? Amazing — isn’t it?
Jesus “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). The temptation for Jesus to submit to the crowd and exalt Himself must have been there, but He didn’t respond to it. He responded to the way Father would have responded. The Bible calls us to die to self and become alive in Christ.
In Galatians 2:20, Paul is preaching a death to self, but it is very important to notice how this death took place. He said: “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.” Paul said he was dead through what Jesus did. He experienced this death by simply reckoning what had already happened through Christ to be so as he said in Rom. 6:11: “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
There are people today who have taken the “dying to self” doctrine to an extreme and, instead of being free of self, they are totally self-centered. They constantly think of self. They are more aware of self than Christ in them. It may be in all negative terms, but it is still self-centered. A truly humble person is one who is Christ-centered, not self-centered. Dying to self is not a hatred for self, but rather a love of Christ more than self. It is laying aside our desires in exchange for his; denying our will in obedience to his will. But in no way is this self-hatred or caring less for oneself.
There are false religions that preach a denial of self. We need to be not just dead to self, but alive to God as Paul wrote. A focus on the denial of self without the enthronement of Christ leads to legalism. As a result, all sorts of man-made ideas (that appear to be “spiritual”) are implemented keeping the person bound to religious ways instead of the freedom they have in Christ.
True humility is not a debasing of self, or a hatred of self, or our accomplishments. It is simply the awareness that all that we have and are is a gift of God. Therefore, only a person who acknowledges God can operate in true humility.
When humility is lived out, then we begin to experience the true life of Christ operating in our lives. To be alive to God in Christ Jesus is to think, desire and live out daily the life that Jesus exemplified while on earth, do what he did and does, and speak what he said and still says today.
As his representatives on earth, he wants to help us live a life full of God, free to live, free to worship, free to receive all that he promised and free to give more of him to others and be happy all the way to our destiny in him. The crucifying of our flesh is not something that requires much work, as much as it requires the acknowledgement of his life in us.
Make it a great day!