“You should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.” Ephesians 4:22-24
What does it mean to die to self and be a follower of Christ? In this world we live in today, what does that look like? How can I truly be as Christ is to me? How can I, like the grain of wheat that falls to the earth and dies, “produce much fruit,” John 12:24?
Pretty serious questions. I often ponder these questions in my life along with am I fulfilling God’s Will by acting on the answers to the above questions.
Is my heart truly mine? Are my hands and feet truly mine? How about the money in my bank account, my possessions or the children I am blessed with? The more I contemplate this, the more my answer is – if I die to self and follow Christ, the answer to those questions would be no, they are all God’s.
When I lay down my heart and allow it to be in union with Christ, I will love others as He loves me. I will embrace each person as if he or she were my brother or sister. I would pray for them as if they were a part of me.
When I allow Christ to be my hands and feet, I will feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, clothe the naked. If I see one of my sisters and brothers injured, I will pick them up and attend to their needs. I will be a true servant to each of my brothers and sisters, giving of myself.
When I accept that my possessions are not mine but God’s, given to me to use to build His kingdom, I would trust that when my brothers or sisters reach out to me in financial need, I would give what I had to give, knowing that it was God’s to give in accordance with His will.
When I accept that my children are God’s, I would have less anxiety, trusting their lives into the hands of their true Father, their creator. I would know that the hands that created them within me will direct their paths and their journey in life.
When I truly know that all I have is God’s, when I truly die to myself, my trust and peace will reach the heavens. I would live the life God intended and I would be fulfilling His Will, building His kingdom here in this temporary home. I think this is what it means to me to die to self and bear much fruit, just as the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it is then that the wheat is useful. And so we, like the grain of wheat, will feed God’s people by bearing fruits of the kingdom through our service, love, compassion, and mercy given to us to be Christ in this world that needs it.
Dear friends, is your heart God’s heart? Are your hands and feet that of Jesus? Are your possessions God’s gift to use to aid His people? Are your children His, given to you to spiritually guide and produce abundant fruit in the kingdom of God? How simple would our lives be when we accept that all that we are and all that we have is God’s and was given to us to serve and love our brothers and sisters.