Posted by Jerry White on Feb 29, 2016
God created all that exists for Himself. He is the Creator, Owner, Ruler, and Sustainer of all things. It is all for His glory and pleasure. He created and named each star, planet and Galaxy. He created every sparrow, feeds it, and determines the length of its days. Each flower blooms according to His schedule. Every human life was designed by Him for His purpose.There are no accidents in His creation, nor are there any after-thoughts. Someone accurately and wisely said, “With God there are no second causes.” Almighty God is the center of all that exists.
Adam’s sin against God corrupted the entire human race so that all human beings are born with a sinful nature. This perverted nature compels each one to think that he or she is the center of all that happens. Everything is supposed to revolve around them—us—me. Not so! Our sin nature is self-centered, self-absorbed, and self-pleasing. God says our heart is incurably sick (Jeremiah 17:9). He declares that every imagination of our heart is only evil continually (Genesis 6:5-6). We naturally think in terms that God exists to bless me and meet my needs, wants, and wishes. These are tragic thinking patterns!
Even Christians, those who have not taken death to self, think and unconsciously speak this way. Everything should be according to my preferences and my opinions. It is all about me and for me. It is my life and I am the center of all things.
The Holy Spirit grieves!
A repentant heart brings repentant thinking. This change recognizes and accepts the undeniable fact that all things are from Him, through Him, and to Him (Romans 11:36). I am only one of His finite creations holding a tiniest place in God’s massive scheme of things, and I should quietly fulfill my purpose while worshipping Him with all my heart. I am not the center of the universe. Life does not revolve around me—us. He, and He alone is the focus of all things. It is all for Him, His will, and His glory.
Death to self, with all its ugly, self-centered expressions, is the gateway into the Lord’s presence to experience His love, His peace, His joy—and our adoring worship.
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”
Posted by Jerry White on Jan 4, 2016
“There must be conformity between Christ and the members of His mystical body. How incongruous it is for a holy Christ to be leading a company of unholy Christians, or a cross-bearing Christ, a band of self-indulgent Christians, whose hearts are often towards Egypt, and who shrink from the least suffering and self-denial! It is only they who have truly followed Him, having known the meaning of this inward Cross, who will ‘have boldness, and not shrink with shame before Him at His coming.’
Why hesitate, therefore, to bear the Cross by which you may gain the crown? In the Cross is salvation, in the Cross is life, in the Cross is safety from enemies; in the Cross is that peace which the world cannot give, in the Cross is courage, in the Cross is joy; in the Cross is the sum of all virtues, in the Cross the perfection of holiness. There is no salvation for the soul, no hope of eternal life in anything else. The Cross is the beginning and the end; and all who would live, must first die; there is no other way to life and to real inward peace but the way of the Cross.”
J. Gregory Mantle (1853-1925)
The Way of the Cross. 42-43
How does one take up the cross in complete submission to Jesus Christ? Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) left us a written record of how he prayed:
“I have been before God
and have given myself,
all that I am and have,
so that I am not
in any respect, my own…
I have given myself clear away,
and have not retained
anything as my own.”
Posted by Jerry White on Nov 9, 2015
“Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it”.
Luke 9:24 (ESV)
“Oh, what pains, and what a death it is to nature, to turn me, myself, my lust, my ease, my credit, over into ‘my Lord, my Savior, my King, and my God, my Lord’s will, my Lord’s grace!’ But alas! that idol, that whorish creature myself is the master-idol we all bow to. What hurried Eve headlong upon the forbidden fruit, but that wretched thing herself? What drew that brother-murderer to kill Abel? That untamed himself. What drove the old world on to corrupt their ways? Who, but themselves, and their own pleasure? What was the cause of Solomon’s falling into idolatry and multiplying of strange wives? What but himself, whom he would rather please than God? What was the hook that took David and snared him first in adultery, but his self-lust? and then in murder, but his self-credit and self-honor? What led Peter on to deny his Lord? Was it not a piece of himself, and self-love to a whole skin? What made Judas sell his master for thirty pieces of silver, but the idolizing of avaricious self? What made Demas to go off the way of the Gospel to embrace the present world? Even self-love and a love of gain for himself.
Every man blameth the devil for his sins; but the great devil, the house-devil of every man, the house-devil that eateth and lieth in every man’s bosom, is that idol that killeth all, himself. Oh! blessed are they who can deny themselves, and put Christ in the room of themselves! O sweet word: ‘I live no more, but Christ liveth in me!’”
Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661)
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
John 12:24-25 (ESV)
Posted by Jerry White on Sep 21, 2015
“Death to self means a total despair of self—that is, to give up all thoughts of having or doing anything that is good in any other way but that of a meek, humble, patient, total resignation of ourselves to God. All that we do in religion without this conviction is in ignorance of what we are, and is often rather the life than the death of self. When we are ashamed or vexed at our own pride, it is simply because we expected something better of ourselves. When we condemn ourselves for having been angry, it is with the hope of not doing so again. When we purpose not to sin, it is in a secret hope that by resolve and strength of will, we may be kept from it. All this is the life of self. What we need is to be brought to the inward full conviction that as little as we can see with our hands, can we ourselves conquer self or sin. It is this alone which will bring us to that entire dependence upon God and that simple faith in Christ Jesus through which the operation of God’s Spirit can proceed freely in us.
God must do all, or all is nothing. God cannot do all till all is expected from Him. And all is not expected from Him till by a true and good despair of every human help, we have no hope, or trust, or longing after anything but a patient, meek, humble resignation of all to God. In these three simple sentences we have the sum of [William] Law’s practical theology: there is no true good but what God works himself. In the Son and the Spirit, God has taken possession of man, to dwell and work in him as before the Fall. The one thing God asks of man is faith—that he expect all good from Him alone. And the one hindrance to a true and full faith is that meek, humble, patient, total resignation to God, to His mercy and power is so little known and sought. It is for the lack of this that self exercises such a mighty malignant power in the believer and the Church.”
Freedom From A Self-Centered Life / Dying to Self, 97-98
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
John 12:24 (ESV)
Posted by Jerry White on May 25, 2015
Death to self is the necessary prerequisite for experiencing fullness of life in Christ. Human nature craves to retain control of its own life. This began in the Garden of Eden when Adam chose to disobey God about the forbidden fruit in order to satisfy his desire his own way. The principle of sin became ruler in Adam, and this was passed on to every human born after him. It’s very nature is self-determination, self-seeking, self-pleasing, and self-exaltation. Because of this, each one of us must choose death to self in order to be wholly Christ’s and live under His Lordship through His indwelling Spirit-life. It is a choice one must make and keep on making day by day if Christ will be glorified. Paul wrote, “I die every day” ( 1 Corinthians 15:31).
A professing Christian can possess much Bible knowledge but still not have taken death to self. A person can be well schooled in theology but still retain control of his or her own life. A person can be active in church life with various ministries and yet still be subject to the king of self. To escape slavery to the self-life one must make deliberate decisions exactly like the Lord Jesus did. He made His decision to leave the bliss of heaven to become a helpless baby. He made a deliberate decision in the wilderness to stand against the devil and his temptations and submit in faith to His Father’s Word, care and will. In His severest battle that made Him sweat blood on that cold dark night, He prayed with loud crying and tears, “Not as I will but as You will.” Death to self requires a wholehearted choice before God the Father expressed through prayer. Without this decisive act it will never happen. Never will Bible study, church attendance, ministry involvement, nor Christian fellowship bring about this death to self. Only a definite faith sacrifice of your entire being on God’s altar will usher you into the fullness of Christ so that you actually experience the overflowing fullness of His peace, His joy, and His love. It seems that among many professing Christians, so few are truly followers of the Lord Jesus like this.
A. W. Tozer expressed this decision in a prayer:
O God, glorify Yourself at my expense. Send me the bill…anything, Lord.
I set no price. I will not dicker or bargain.
Glorify Yourself. I’ll take the consequences. Amen!