To Die to Self, We Must Know Ourselves

I do not know myself as well as I thought. The Holy Spirit continually surprises me with new insight and revelation. He reveals my heart raw and unfiltered.

When our spirit comes to life we connect with God. That intimate relationship that was destroyed by sin is restored at the point of our salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Our sins are forgiven and God accepts us as righteous and holy. We can become the person God created, but it takes some severing of our old nature. God has helped me uncover a lot that is not meant to be. His great love for everyone He created prompts Him to graciously reveal their hearts.

When we see our reactions and interactions in our natural state, the typical character or behavior that has developed over time apart from God, we begin to understand how to die out to self. And my hearts desire is to know this.

“And He said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” Luke 9:23

When I read such scriptures, I must ask ‘how.’ The Holy Spirit must show me otherwise I just don’t get how.

I have found when you ask God to show you how to practice a particular scripture, He will reveal its applications. Maybe not all at once, but bit-by-bit. He gives us just enough to grasp before revealing more.

As I ponder dying to self the Holy Spirit gives me verses. Particularly those that go against my nature and I find difficult to apply.

For example, if someone who is displeased with my behavior spits a harsh word at me, I want to reply in kind. But the Holy Spirit has given me Proverbs 15:1 as a plumbline scripture– “A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.”

To die to my typical behavior, which is to die to self, is to do what is right in God’s eyes and reply with a gracious tongue.

As the Holy Spirit points out areas of my typical characteristics and behavior that don’t match God’s Word, I know what needs to be severed. Basically, it is a change from self-centeredness to other-centeredness.

Practicing agape love is another way I die to self. My definition of agape is from “The Compact Dictionary of Doctrinal Words by Terry L. Miethe” and is defined as “intelligently, intensely willing the best for another.” Therefore, I do what is in the best interest of another person rather than putting myself first.

Jesus instructed “love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12) Then He revealed what this love is by his next statement. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

When I die to self, I lay down my life for others. My concern for their wellbeing is greater than my concern for myself.

Dying to self is a daily process. By taking up my cross, I am reminded I am a new creation and my old nature no longer has a tight hold on me. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, I can walk in God’s ways which reflect Christ-like behavior.

©2023 Susan Cort Johnson *All Rights Reserved

Let’s Talk:

1-How would you describe dying out to self?

2-What scriptures are you learning to apply? How is dying to self an important aspect in the practice of these scriptures?

One thought on “To Die to Self, We Must Know Ourselves

  1. LoriAnn Feeley

    Learning to die to self is one of the most difficult yet rewarding experiences, when we are able to put others’ best interests above ourselves.

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