If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
For many, success or failure in life is all a matter of perspective.
How we see things; how we view people; how we feel we have been treated or deserve to be treated; all play a part in our view of life, our attitude and ultimately our happiness. There are many philosophies that would take us down a certain path of life only to find out they are unfulfilling and full of trials, pain, and loss. Even the successes we may find do not satisfy the way that we had hoped. Solomon, considered the wisest man to have ever lived, determined to experience every facet of this life; to find the wisdom in it. Only, what he found was empty and unfulfilling.
Ecclesiastes 12:8, Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.
So why then, do we work and pursue?
Why is it that we chase after dreams? Why do we spend a lifetime seeking a better life for us and our children? I cannot say I know all things or am wise in all situations, but I wish to relate to you a truth from one who has seen a few things and has allowed God to teach me a few things. This thing of ‘dying to self’ is a truth that God puts forth in many ways for us to see and understand. I can tell you from experience that when I was in control of my life, I sought to please me first. Whether it was emotional, physical, or spiritual; whether it was relationships, school, work or just within my neighborhood, I wanted to be accepted, loved, and significant – I wanted to know that my life mattered. I have found that when I seek out man’s approval, look for man’s acceptance and seek the love of others; I have ultimately been let down, disappointed and hurt deeply.
The realization that God is ALWAYS right and my way is ALWAYS wrong can be quite a bitter pill to swallow.
My pride stands in the way of accepting that truth. I must accept that when my heart gets involved in anything, it can and will deceive me.
Jeremiah 17:9, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Jeremiah 10:23, O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
Then, we ‘try’ God’s way and we experience hurt, failure and loss, we blame God because of the way He took us. Unless we are committed; all in on God’s plan doing it God’s way, we are reserving judgment and holding on to some part of control just in case it doesn’t work out the way we want it to. We shift the blame to God because after all, He said so.
Being dead to self is a matter of removing all parts of me in this life.
Whether it is something so simple as which way to go to work, how to spend the money I earn or accepting the call to service on a foreign field; the decision becomes simple when my heart is set to please my Heavenly Father. Once I begin to take ownership or claim any credit for this life I live, sin lies at the door and failure is sure to follow. Realizing the truth of who truly ‘owns’ me, is paramount in how I must live. When I received Jesus Christ as Savior, I gave away all rights to the One who purchased me. I have been bought with a price.
1 Corinthians 6:20, For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. The apostle Paul understood clearly this principle.
The apostle Paul understood clearly this principle.
1 Corinthians 15:22, 31, For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
When we are being dead to ourselves and alive unto God, my heart is turned to wanting to please my Father and not my flesh. Don’t give up on your dreams. Being dead to yourself means giving those dreams to God. And should He see fit to give them back to you, then they will come to pass. But if they are not what He wants for you as His child, you and I will try as we may, but we’ll never be satisfied and never see those dreams fulfilled! Being dead to self means seeing things the way God sees them. Apart from the Word of God, I can never truly see God’s way clearly. It will get clogged in the filter of what I deem acceptable, achievable and doable in my flesh. But seeing Him who is invisible, I must, by faith, trust that my Heavenly Father knows what is best and will work out all things for His good.
Romans 8:28, And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.