Whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. (Philippians 3:7)
Death is a great deliverer for the saints of God. When we take our last breath on this earth, death will deliver us into the glorious, unveiled presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Christian need have no fear of physical death, for, as Paul said, “To depart and be with Christ . . . is better by far” (Philippians 1:23).
But along the way to death’s ultimate deliverance, we are to be delivered by death each day . . . in fact, moment by moment. And that death of which I speak is —
Death to Self!
Remember, the sinful self constantly encourages us to “keep back” part of ourselves. When we die to self, we refuse to hold anything back from our Lord. Unlike Ananias and Sapphira, who kept back some of the money they had promised to give to the work of the Lord (Acts 5), we hold nothing back when we have died to self. But reaching that point requires the work of the Holy Spirit within us; our sinful nature cannot comprehend the condition of being “all in,” because at that level of living, we have no safety net . . . other than Jesus Christ.
On the night before the crucifixion of our Lord, Peter refused to die to self. Instead, his sinful nature chose to keep back a portion of the truth of his relationship with Jesus Christ for fear that what was happening to Jesus would happen to him too. But Peter learned a wonderful lesson from this experience: he learned that the grace of Jesus Christ is greater than all our sin. And when Jesus had restored Peter, the rest of his life was marked by the death to self—so much so that church tradition tells us that when Peter was sentenced to death by crucifixion, he asked to be nailed to the cross upside down, saying that he was not worthy to die in the same manner as his Lord. Now that is death to self!
How is it with you today? Is daily death delivering you from yourself? Or have you been holding back a portion of yourself? It is impossible to die to self and keep back from your Lord; it is either one or the other. As you go through your day, consider the moment-by-moment choices you face: dying to self or keeping back some portion of yourself. The first choice leads to the deliverance of death and being able to sincerely echo the apostle Paul: “To me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). The second choice leads to a death that does not deliver.
The choice is always yours.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!