Monday, August 20, 2012


"Focus on the flame, not the burning stick."

For a long time now I've been very aware of my need to die to myself, take up my cross daily, and follow Jesus. It's the foundation for the Christian life, it's essential for discipleship, and it's the core of the Gospel message that Jesus came and died to bring us.

But lately I've been focused mostly on my side of this equation instead of on the entire process. Mainly, what I've been missing is the perspective of the exchange that takes place.

When I die to myself it's not merely a death of my will or pride, it's the catalyst for a chemical reaction whereby my life is lost so that the life of Christ can fill me up and replace my selfishness with his sacrificial love for others.

What's been missing is the emphasis on the life of Christ being formed in me. This is what the phrase above, which God spoke to my heart last week, means: Focus on the flame (the power of Christ), not the burning stick (your death to self).

What I need most is the life of Christ. I don't receive it by holding on to my life but by letting go of it. "

"Whoever find his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake shall find it." (Matthew 10:39)

What I need most is for Jesus to release those rivers of living water within me so that I can enjoy His kind of life and not this empty version of life without Him.

“On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:37-38)

If my focus is only on my own death, or emptiness, I might miss the gift that comes from the exchange.

Even in this process of dying to myself, my focus has been on me, and ironically, this is the very thing that the process is intended to change about me - my own selfishness.

Let me keep my eyes and my attention on Christ alone who is my life and my hope.

“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:3-4)



co_heir said...

Thank you for this. My focus the past few months has been on dying and giving up my life for others, and it's very easy for me to forget that the reason I die to self is so that I can live to Christ by having him live through me. I can easily get caught up in "it's not me," and forget that it IS Jesus in me.

Dwight said...

I think that if one thinks too much about "dying to self" one might be committing spiritual suicide. In every case it is the grace of God and the example of Christ that "kills" our old life, but without great violence; more in the manner of chrysalis becoming a butterfly. We can no more control the "dying" of our old life than we can our "rebirth" into Christ. Surely this is what Christ meant when he said we will enter the Kingdom as children. Our Father will moderate and inspire every piece of this journey, and it will transpire as surely as our movement from childhood to adult life, regardless of our intentions, so long as they not be contrary to grace.