John 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
Please tell me I'm not the only one who is convicted by this verse. Just yesterday, I was dealing with a mini-crisis and I don't think I handled it well. Reading this verse today is a light-bulb moment for me - I think this is what was missing from my reaction - dying to self. How many of life's problems would vanish if we all died to self? I can't go into detail regarding my situation, but let's just say that I need to die to self in many areas of my life. Dead people don't get offended, they don't get puffed up with pride, they don't "mouth off", they don't gossip! Not only that, but when I die to myself, I'm allowing the Holy Spirit to control me, so I want to serve, I want to give, I want to love, I want to be merciful and on and on. That's what a seed does - the seed coat (picture of the flesh) dies and the life of the seed (the Holy Spirit) takes root in the soil (the Word of God) and the plant (us) bears fruit (the list is given in Gal. 5:22-23).
But it all begins with death. Before you get all depressed, rest assured I'm not talking about physical death. Paul said, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Gal.2:20) It's death to our desires, and life to His.
I asked my husband "How can I ignore my flesh? I wish there was a button I could push that would automatically make me 'spiritual' ". He told me that it's not a supernatural thing that happens to the believer. We can't pray and ask God to kill our flesh and be done with it. We must die to self by constantly choosing the spiritual over the fleshly. For instance, I didn't want to get up this morning. Thinking about reading my Bible and praying didn't exactly make me want to get up,either. I made myself get up, I made myself come read the Bible, and the God blessed me for my efforts by speaking to me through His Word. Most Sundays and Wednesdays, I don't want to go to church. I'm tired, I'd like to just put my feet up. But, I make myself go anyway, I never regret it! That's walking in the Spirit - doing what HE wants rather than what I want. But, it can get much more complicated than just going to church. It could mean giving up something I want to do, giving up my money or keeping my mouth shut when my flesh wants to give someone a piece of my mind. Those things, for me anyway, are harder than just going to church. Sometimes, I do want to do spiritual things, but often only because of some fleshly desire (I'll get to eat good food or I'll get to see my friends, etc). Dying to flesh is a daily - perhaps moment by moment - discipline. (Especially if you homeschool your children! haha!)
I'm pretty sure I'll be tested on dying to my flesh more than ever today, seeing as I just wrote this all out. So, if you think of me, please pray for me, that I will, in fact, die to self. I hate hypocrisy, I like real. I want to really be dead to self.