"The DEATH of me!"
Over the years, I have preached on dying to self. Not a popular topic, and when preparing those messages, there is a lot of self evaluation. This whole concept of dying to self, occurred in my life almost nine years ago to the month. I asked JESUS in a time of desperation, to give me the strength to love people like HE loves people. The confirmation after this prayer was evident that very day, and for weeks and months to come. What I did not realize (not sure why I didn't "realize") was the process that it would take to have the heart of JESUS, coupled with HIS strength to do it. The LORD began the purging process in my life, and HE is still at work today, continuing the purge of my heart. Yes the spiritual Heart Catheder was inserted and the process began. The LORD has revealed things in my heart that I did not know existed. Yes, HE has spoken to my heart, through prayer and the reading of HIS Word. I have made progress through the years, and my heart has been broken for what breaks HIS, but I still have a ways to go. Am I suggesting that I will one day have the LORD'S heart for all people, without faulter...no! What I am suggesting though, is that HIS Word has not set us up, and that it is very plausible to have HIS heart for people, all people (to include myself) all the time, and that our hearts will forever grow into HIS! HIS Word is clear in the Gospel of Mark, chapter twelve, verses thirty and thirty-one. "Love the LORD your GOD, with ALL of your heart, ALL of your strength, ALL of your soul and with ALL of your mind, and the second is as equal, to love your neighbor as yourself!" All throughout John's epistle, First John, talks about our love walk, it is clear and direct. Well, over the last nine years, I have learned this: "If I die to myself, I will love like HE loves!" This is a daily process, and at times it is difficult, but I have seen progress, little at times, but progress. I have realized that dying is truly living for HIM. It cuts out the agenda, it cuts out the drama and I know clearly when I'm not dead yet in a certain area...my heart gets out of its rightful place and it ends up on my sleeve! I have done a couple of things, that have assisted in the process of dying to self. First, I have literally wrote out my obituary. My bride has seen it, and I have actually have read it to the congregation of our church family. If my heart stops beating today, my wife will publish the obituary...only if every word is true...this will keep you humble, and keep you ready! Within the obituary, my "mission statement" for life is included...which is framed on the wall of my office. When you write out a declaration, and you declare it and ask the LORD to help you live it...it really engages you to live it out! I live to die, and I strive everyday to walk out the mission...and each day it is a process! I will close with the words of my very best friend, JESUS...."If any man will come after ME, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow ME! (Luke 9:23) Deny myself...die to me, and take up my cross! That cross, represents the crucified life...it's not my life anyway...that old man needed to die along time ago...now it is time to keep him dead!!!
To make JESUS famous always!