When Dying Is the Best Kind of Living
I have a crime to confess. I have been living for me.
I have been living to glorify the name of Audrey instead of the name of Jesus. I have prided myself in the identity I’ve crafted instead of the identity Jesus won for me at the expense of His life. I have created the appearance of a girl who’s got it all together.
But when I fail, I realize how frail this identity truly is. There’s no hope in my identity; it only grows more and more corrupt.
Through a powerful sermon on grace at church tonight, I felt God nudging at my heart – a voice saying that I’ve depended on my own good works and my identity instead of falling on Jesus’ grace.
If falling on Jesus’ grace was easy, then no one would have a problem doing it. Receiving grace may be simple, but it is not easy. Grace is not a cushy, comfy word. It first confronts our pride and self-dependence and then grants us the power to lean on Jesus.
Grace first confronts our pride and self-dependence and then grants us the power to lean on Jesus.
The world tells us to be ourselves – to take pride in who we are. Many Christians heartily embrace this philosophy, only to discover later that pride comes before destruction. Christ calls us to live with a selfless, humble attitude for his glory.
Galatians 2:20 says, “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.”
According to this verse, we have disappeared. When people look for us, they should see a representative of Jesus in our place.
While dying to ourselves is painful at first, it leads to great joy! Only when we stop building our own platform for our own name do we find true freedom. Oh, what peace we can experience when we do not have to worry about OUR feelings and OUR plans and OUR agendas. Handing over the control of our life hurts our pride, but our pride needs to be destroyed. Besides, we are no longer our own since we were “bought at a price”. (1 Corinthians 6:20)
Only when we stop building our own platform for our own name do we find true freedom.
When we are worried about our image, every failure seems catastrophic. Failure chips away at the picture-perfect image we’ve publicly displayed. We then proceed to beat ourselves up, but this is just a manifestation of pride. After all, self-condemnation comes from a belief that WE should have done better, which implies that we think that highly of ourselves in the first place. But when we find our identity in Jesus, every failure is only an opportunity to experience God’s goodness to us. When we depend on God’s grace, we can face our failures for what they are. Instead of beating ourselves up, we realize that our mistakes and sins are the reason why Jesus came in the first place! A failure gifts us with the opportunity to celebrate God’s goodness.
However, we cannot execute this new lifestyle on our own. God’s grace gives us the power to lay down ourselves – crucify our flesh daily – and live for Jesus. It’s impossible to consistently practice self control by our own strength, but the Bible lists self-control as one of the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). When we walk in the spirit, we deny the lusts of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)
Humility does not mean considering ourselves to be sinful worms, doomed and destined to a life of condemnation and failure. True humility is recognizing that on our own we would be nothing, but in Jesus we are sons and daughters of the One True King, thus making us royalty.
Staying humble never means ignoring the gifts that God has given us, thinking that we are “just not good enough.” Quite the contrary! Humbly depending on God’s grace means living in the fullness of our God-given potential. We are supposed to acknowledge the talents God crafted us with. I once heard humility defined as “depending on God in everything we do and giving the glory to God for every success”. Every success presents an opportunity for us to glorify God.
God told Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” No matter how messed up you are, no matter how many mistakes you make daily, God is telling you right now that his grace is enough. His grace is sufficient to wash away your past and to give you a whole new identity in Him. Accept His marvelous grace today, and watch its power unfold in your life.
Stop glorifying your own identity and lean on Jesus. Only then will you live the best kind of life.