Jesus Never Told Anyone To Die To Self

Yesterday I wrote about the freedom we have in Christ, that we are no longer live under the law but live by the Spirit. Today I want to mention a few laws that not only don’t apply to us, but that you should feel free to break with impunity.

  • Stop trying to die to self:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20.)

You’ve been crucified with Christ. Any dying to do has already been done by Jesus on the cross. It’s not about dying any longer. It’s about living. “Christ lives in me.” Don’t die to self. Live the life Jesus is living through you!

  • Stop tithing:

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7.)

Nowhere does any writer under the New Covenant – not Paul or Peter or James or John or anyone – say anything about Christians giving 10% of anything. So what number should you choose? It’s a matter of the heart, a matter of what gives you a cheerful heart. That’s how much you should give. Anything that feels like compulsion (say, for example, a 10% rule) is out of the question. You might give less than 10% and you very well may find that you give more. Do it cheerfully either way!

  • Stop relying on your Quiet Time to get you through the day:

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. (James 2:19.)

Having a morning quiet time is not a guarantor of a good day, and acting like it is sounds more like voodoo than a spiritual discipline. Don’t get me wrong, I love what God teaches me in my Bible reading and in prayer times. But it’s God who gets me through the day, not the fact that I was able to do my QT!

Do This/Don’t Do That Is Nonsense

There are more that you could come up with, I’m sure (and I’d love to read them in the comments!). But you see my point: Christ does not want us to bear a burden of do-this-don’t-do-that. What are we supposed to do, then?

Love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:10.)

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. (James 2:8.)

The only law we have now is love, and following the law of love should not make you feel bad. So I say that if what you are doing feels like a burden and is making you miserable, stop it. Stop it immediately.

Don’t worry about the results of stopping those things, either. You have the Spirit of Christ living in and through you, and that means you are free:

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:17-18.)

If you want something to do, contemplate God’s glory. It’s glorious, transforming, and free. And I bet God will do some wonderful things through you too.

***

[This post is part of a week-long series on law, legalism, being a judge, and judging rightly. Here are Parts OneTwo and Three.]

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27 Responses to Jesus Never Told Anyone To Die To Self

  1. GREAT GREAT GREAT post Tim! I would add three

    1) Stop fretting over finding God’s will for your life, his thoughts are way above yours and if it was that difficult, to find you could not. Here is what God’s will is, glorify and worship HIM, serve others and place them above yourselves, do all things to God’s glory, love others after that wing it have fun enjoy life, live like you were dying (Because one day you will) live like you have nothing to lose (Because you don’t) and live like rejection by others does not matter (because it does not) and most of all live like you know that the one who created the universe is madly in love with you (because he is)
    2) It’s not about YOU! Even when you think it’s about YOU, it’s not, even when everyone tells you its about YOU, it’s not, it’s always about HIM.
    3) Stop setting a goal to read the Bible through in a year, The Bible is not a novel to be devoured, or a book to be read casually with no pupose. It is the living breathing Word of God to be ingested, dug into, reading it this way feel good if you can read it through in five to six years. Then be careful how you wield that thing remember it’s a sword you could hurt someone, put someone’s eye out.

    • Tim says:

      Great points, every one, Pat. And even though I have read teh Bible through in a year a couple times, that’s not my usual method. It provides a particualr perspective on it, but the point is to study the word, not just get through it. Typically I end up taking years to get through a study Bible. Then I start over with a new study Bible and take years to go through that one.

  2. Reblogged this on multicolouredsmartypants and commented:
    Amen! Breathe on me, breath of God.

  3. Dying to self is by grace – it can never be done through my will. All I do is choose to desire His will. And then the funny thing is that ‘myself’ is more alive than ever, because I am made whole in a way that could never happen otherwise. Glad I found this blog 🙂

  4. Christine says:

    You touched on significant “spiritual exercises” that easily become part of our community lexicon and then move on to become “spiritual laws.” At least these are based on some misguided attempt to interpret scripture. When I think of the things that aren’t even close to being spiritual that have entered the body to point us in a particular political direction and how we measure others spiritual health according to those political beliefs it makes me kind of sick. How did we get so far from “Love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Romans 13:10.)?

  5. janehinrichs says:

    It gets back to that one thing you said, — It’s not about me! It’s not about the individual. It’s about Jesus. So, if it is something “I” do….then where is Jesus?

  6. Jeannie says:

    “So I say that if what you are doing feels like a burden and is making you miserable, stop it. Stop it immediately.” That’s excellent, Tim.

  7. We tend to want to make deals or ultimatums with God, most of the time without knowing it. If I do ____ then God will do ____ for me, or vice versa. That leads us to tithing an exact percentage, reading daily, etc. When we realize God pours out his blessings and riches onto us no matter what (not talking prosperity here), we become free to live our eternal lives now. We cant beat God’s giving, no matter how hard we try.

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  9. bobbalkcom says:

    I agree that the fullness of Christ’s sacrifice is mine, and yours. But there seems to be something missing in your targeting and inclusion of who I might or where I might be.

    Galatians 2:20 says I am crucified with Christ. That involves dying.

    • Tim says:

      Thanks for coming by, Bob. Galatians 2:20 talks about death in the past tense and life in the present tense. We have died, that’s true; but dying to self daily, as so many promote, is not supported by that verse. In fact, the verse doesn’t even talk about dying to self at all, daily or otherwise. That verse is about Christ’s crucifixion and how we are joined in it. It’s all about what he’s done in his death, not our own dying but joining in his.

      Cheers,
      Tim

  10. Rob Grayson says:

    Great stuff, Tim. Even when our eyes have been opened to the wonderful grace of God, we have an amazing ability to gravitate back to legalism. I’ll be posting a link to your post in a couple of hours.

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  15. Natalie says:

    This morning I read in Galatians. Neither rule-keeping nor rule-avoidance has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Gal 5:6 Natalie’s tampered version.

    • Tim says:

      I love that passage, and “Natalie’s Tampered Version” says it well. It goes along with Colossians 2:22 which says: “These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.”

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