One of the many phrases I, often, hear tossed around among Christians is the idea of 'dying to the flesh'. For years and years I've heard it tossed around, but it wasn't until recently...when God started dealing with me on a personal level about 'dying to my flesh' that I really began thinking about what it really means and how my neglect of it has impacted my ability to function in ministry the way God intends.
At the very beginning of our Christian walks, when we first accepted Christ as our Savior, most of us were baptised. That baptism was symbolic of the choice we made to deny ourselves or die in the flesh and be reborn in the spirit. One thing that we must realize, though, is that this 'fleshly death' is not a one time thing. Rather, it is our responsibility, as servants of God, to crucify our flesh on a daily basis. Why is this necessary day after day? Paul said it best... 'For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the spirit, and the spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other so that you do not do what you want.' ~Galatians 5:17. Let me just make it plain... Your flesh and the spirit of God are not on the same page, never was on the same page, and never will be. Since our flesh does not agree with the spirit, it is our flesh that must be sacrificed so that we may operate in the spirit. This is especially important when it comes to operating in ministry. We don't move in steps that are ordered by God when our flesh is governing our actions.
The Bible says in John 3:30 that 'He must increase, but I must decrease.' Less of me, more of him....we should be living our lives, daily, with that in mind. It's not easy. It means that you won't be able to go all the places you used to go, hang with all the people you used to hang with, participate in all the activities you used to participate in, or even listen to all the music you used to listen to. Needless to say, it's a complete lifestyle change. I'll be the first to admit that I mess it up more than I get it right. But I thank God that with every new day comes brand new mercies.
If it is our goal to function in ministry according to the will of God, we need to, daily, go through the process of purging ourselves of pride, self-will, and all the other things that cause us think of ourselves first and God somewhere after that. Our wills must yield to his will. When we hold ourselves accountable to doing this everyday, humility develops and our faith is strengthened. We are, then, able to be used by God the way he has purposed. Make the choice to die to your flesh today and everyday.
Be blessed =)