While reading about the life of Jesus I noticed that he never was moved by the things other people said or did to him. He always had an ample supply of compassion for the people he encountered. He was never controlled by the criticism of others. He never worried about how others viewed him or his actions. His activities focused on the needs of individuals and never on how he could profit by helping them. He did not need to promote or defend himself because he was dependent on God the Father to deal with those issues. And it was his union with this Father that gave him his source of power and guidance. Thus Jesus lived out a selfless life that God the Father provided through the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Yet, selfless living is not natural to us. Because of our own insecurities we crave the approval of others. Our motives for helping those in need may be tainted by desires for approval and recognition. The truth is that we are not sufficient in ourselves for such selfless living. We are too wrapped up in satisfying, protecting and promoting self. So that is the place to start, with our weak and insecure self.
God’s Word: The Revelation of all that we can be in Christ
When we open up our Bibles and begin to read, what is it that we find? Is it a historical record of God’s dealing with men in the past? Is it a book of promises that can be applied to our lives now? Or could it be a revelation of our potential in Christ. (When the phrase ‘in Christ’ is used in the New Testament we can understand that it is speaking about our lives in union with Jesus Christ). Yes, many have failed to see God’s word as a revelation of how God views us and the destine he desires for us. For example, take Gideon in Judges chapters 6, 7 and 8. In Judges 6:11, 12 an angel appears to Gideon and calls him a mighty warrior. God saw Gideon as a mighty warrior before Gideon fought any battles. God saw Gideon potential. All Gideon had to do was to believe and obey the word of the God delivered by an angel. What God said about Gideon was true in the spiritual world and once Gideon believed and obeyed, it would come about in the physical world. So we need to recognize with every promise that God has given us. According to God what his word say about us is already true in the spiritual realm. Then we believe, obey and apply it to our lives and as a result, these promises are fulfilled in our lives too! So, with this in mind we will apply what the Bible says about dying to self in the same manner.
Dead to sin but alive to God
Read Romans 6:1-14. What did Christ overcome with this death?
How do we become united with Christ death?
Do we have the power to resist temptation?
Paul tells reminds us that Christ has overcome death and now lives solely for God. When we received Jesus became united with his death. That is what our baptism in water symbolizes. Our death to sin and new life are already true in the spiritual therefore we need to recon or consider this as a reality in our lives and start walking in that reality. Our new birth has enabled us to say no to the tendency to comment sin or to any weakness that responds to temptation. We are now united with Christ. We share in His capacity to resist sin and to live for God. We should simply offer ourselves up to God daily and remind ourselves that we are dead to sin and its temptations. God’s sufficient grace will be available for us.
I no longer live
Read Galatians 2:20. What do you feel is the central truth of Galatians 2:20?
In what ways can you apply this truth in your life?
What is Paul saying to us in Galatians 2:20? (1) Our old self has died; (2) Christ has taken up residence inside of us; (3) the mode by which we are now to live is not by our own natural strength and abilities but by faith in the Son of God; and (4) we can rest assured of Jesus’ faithfulness as we trust Him because He loves; He loved us enough to give himself for us.
That is how Paul could say in Philippians 4:13,”I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Paul never forgot that Jesus is El Shaddai, God Almighty; nothing is too hard for him. And Paul was certain of Christ’s love for us. So we can count on Him. If you believe the truth of Galatians 2:20, then start living according to it today and watch what happens.
Fullness in Christ
Read Colossians 2:6-10. Where is the fullness of God found?
What substitutes are offered in place of Christ?
If there is no greater authority than Christ, then what is our potential when we are united with him?
What can hinder our union with Christ?
What dreams in your life could you fulfill through your union with Christ?
Many Christians are captive to the world’s philosophy. It the same of carnal or natural mind that Paul writes about in 2 Corinthians 2:14. They try to serve in their own strength following the ways of the world not realizing that their source is Jesus, the true vine (John 15:1-5). All the fullness of God dwells in Him; He is the Christ that means the Anointed One. And those of us who belong to Christ share his fullness. The Amplified Bible says it this way, ”And you are in Him, made full and having come to fullness of life [in Christ you too are filled with the Godhead—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and reach full spiritual stature]”. By being rooted (connected) and built up (abiding in his presence) we receive the guidance and strength to bear fruit beyond what we can do in the natural. So today, let us recognize that fullness that we have received in Christ. We do not have to worry about filling ourselves up. Rather we need to abide, believe and obey so that Christ on the inside can flow out of us!
The Mind Controlled by the Spirit
Read Romans 8:5-18. What does Romans 8 teach us about the mind set on the flesh or sinful nature?
What are the advantages of the mind controlled by the Spirit ?
What can we expect in our lives when we allow God’s spirit to control us?
Should we fear letting ourselves be controlled by God’s Spirit?
What kind of relationship do we have with God if we make a habit of allowing his Spirit to control us?
And what does that relationship qualify us to be?
What do we set our minds on? In Romans 8 Paul speaks about the differences between the mind set on the sinful nature and the mind controlled by the spirit. The natural mind is set on the flesh, the sinful nature:
* Leads to suffering, misery and death
* Lacks life and peace
* Do not follow the leading of God’s spirit
* Is hostile to God and does not submit his law
* Cannot please God
Those who live in accordance with the Spirit of God:
* Are controlled by the spirit resulting in life and peace
* Their body is dead to sin, but their spirit has been made alive
* Receive life from God
* Have no obligation to live according to the sinful nature
* Life comes once we put to death the misdeeds of the body
* Are no longer a slave to fear
* Have received a spirit of sonship or adoption
* Now have an intimate relationship with the Father and a testimony that we belong to God
* Have been made an heir
* Will share in Christ suffering and glory
Why would we continue to give our minds over to the sinful nature? We want life and peace and to experience God’s presence and guidance. We can as we realize that we do belong to Christ and have received His Spirit. Accept this reality and act upon it. So, let us stay in step with God’s spirit.
The Results of Living By the Spirit
Read Galatians 5:16-26.
What internal conflict does Paul bring to light?
What practices come into our lives when we give into our old nature?
What must we do to stay on top of the old nature?
What is the evidence of that we have been living by God’s Spirit?
Which of the fruit of God’s Spirit do you feel you need most in your life?
OK, we know now that we are dead to sin. Therefore we can live by God’s Spirit. But if we do not feed our Spirits the word of god and yield ourselves to God’s Spirit we will experience conflict. Paul speaks about this conflict in Romans 7:
For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwells no good thing. For desire is present with me, but I don’t find it doing that which is good. For the good which I desire, I don’t do; but the evil which I don’t desire, that I practice. But if what I don’t desire, that I do, it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwells in me. Romans 7:18-20
To stay sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit we need to continue making Bible study and prayer a priority in our lives. Otherwise our old nature will pull us down to a lower level. Paul describes the manifestation of this low level way of living:
* sexual immorality
* outbursts of anger
* and things like these (many other practices)
These practices are contrary to the nature of God. They do not produce any blessing but only curses and punishment in our lives. Paul concludes that those allow these practices in their lives can never receive the benefits of the God’s kingdom. Yet, on the other hand, those who do keep in step with the leading of God’s Spirit produce fruit that no one can condemn: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This fruit is not the result of our natural abilities but is the result of being guided and controlled by God’s Spirit.
Set Your Hearts on Things Above
Read Colossians 3:1-10. What danger do we face when we set our hearts on the things, conditions and methods of the earth?
How can be set our minds on things above?
If we are being renewed in the knowledge of the Creator what can we start doing to gain more knowledge of your Creator?
Because we are partakers in Christ resurrection we have a nobler and higher purpose for living: to be conformed to Christ’s image and to demonstrate the reality of his kingdom on earth. Yet, that can not happen when we allow ourselves to conform to the conventional thinking of the world. Instead, Paul tells to set our hearts and minds on things above where Christ is seated, in the heavenlies. He wants us get a picture in our minds of Christ seated at the right hand of God. What do you think is Jesus’ view of the world and what would his solutions be to the world’s problems? When we view the world and our circumstances from Christ’s point of view our perspective should change greatly. When we understand how he sees us we will also look at ourselves differently. We will discover that we are not as weak as we think. So we can put away the habits of the old self: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed, anger, rage, malice, slander, filthy language and lying. Those practices and the world no longer have a hold on us. Instead, as we learn more about the character of Christ, we are able to live as He lived.
Read 1 Peter 4:1-5. Surprising isn’t it. Here Perer says Christians should arm themselves. What kind of arms does he say we should carry?
When we are equipped with the same attitude as Christ, what will be our response to sin?
And what will this attitude allow us to do?
Christ has already suffered death in his body for sin. Now sin is powerless. That is how Christ views sin and we should do the same. Consequently, we are now free to seek after God’s will for our lives. So let us do so.
What have we learned about the characteristics of our old nature?
What has Christ done for us to overcome that nature?
Who’s nature are we now free to demonstrate in our lives?
Who’s nature do you want to learn more about after having completed this study?
Copyright © 2010-2011 by Alan Pasho, www.disciplepedia.org. All rights reserved.
Recommended Memory Verses on Topic of Dying to Self
John 12:23-25 – Jesus answered them, “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Most assuredly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life will lose it. He who hates his life in this world will keep it to eternal life.
Romans 6:8-11 – But if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him; knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no more has dominion over him! For the death that he died, he died to sin one time; but the life that he lives, he lives to God. Thus also consider yourselves also to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:6 – For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace.
Romans 8:13, 14 – For if you live after the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God.
Galatians 2:20 – I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I that live, but Christ living in me. That life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me.
Galatians 5:22, 23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Colossians 2:9, 10 – For in him all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily, and in him you are made full, who is the head of all principality and power.
Colossians 3:2, 3 – Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
1 Peter 4:1, 2 – Forasmuch then as Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind; for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin; that you no longer should live the rest of your time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
Scriptures taken from the Word English Bible (WEB)