How would you describe what it’s like to be a Christian?
How would explain to others how they can become a Christian?
What would you say?
When I was a child, I was told to ask Jesus into my heart and that he would come in and never leave. I imagined my heart as a literal house that Jesus wanted to dwell in. I thought that Jesus needed me, that it was I who initiated this invitation and He would be eager to come and live in my heart! I thought I had to pray this invite and God would find me irresistible and that heaven was guaranteed. This was my first impression of Christianity, and it was, to say the least…a very distorted , unbiblical introduction. Leading towards selfishness and entitlement and eventually a shallow faith.
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.(Luke 9:23-24)
Becoming a Christian has nothing to do with us and everything to do with God..His plan, his Grace, His rescue of humanity and it is also a bid to come and die..to live! God Himself did not spare His own Son…what gives me the right to think that I am spared from a life of suffering , pain, hardship? Mysteriously, it is death that gives birth to life in its fullest. Dying to self in a society that serves up excess at every turn may be the challenge of this age but it need not be unobtainable.
“Christ says, ‘Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it…Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked – the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.’…[We] must be ploughed up and re-sown.” –C.S Lewis (Mere Christianity)
The bid to come and die is not an easy call. It demands everything. I often think of Abraham and the sacrifice he was asked to make..I cannot imagine such trust, I cannot say that I could do what he did.
“One who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.” – Romans 6:7-8
“…always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” – 2 Corinthians 4:10-12
“I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” – Galatians 2:20
“If we have died with him, we will also live with him.” – 2 Timothy 2:11
My sister sent me this checklist recently and I thought it too good not to share:
How do you know if you are Dying to Self?
When you are forgotten, or neglected, or purposely set at naught, and you don’t sting and hurt with the insult or the oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ, that is dying to self.
When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself, but take it all in patient, loving silence, that is dying to self.
When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, any immpunctuality, or any arrogance; when you stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility- and endure it as Jesus endured- that is dying to self.
When you are content with any food, any offering, any climate, any society, any raiment, any interruption by the will of God, that is dying to self.
When you never care to refer yourself in conversation, or to record your own good words, or itch after commendations, when you can truly love to be unknown, that is dying to self.
When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy, nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances, that is dying to self.
When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself and can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart, that is dying to self.
~ Author Unknown