Lately, God has begun to take me on a journey of teaching and lessons. A major component of this time of training has been the necessity to die to myself. The knowledge of this necessity as a requirement has begun to drop from my head to my heart. (I love it when this happens! It’s sort of like those light bulb moments you had in school only in the school of the Spirit.) This Christmas, God revealed a practical method to die to myself. It is so simple with profound implications in my spirit. I can’t begin to explain how I feel and the victory that is won when I obey this “simple” command by God, my Father. There are so many biblical examples to support this method such as Abraham and Jesus instructions in Mark 10-21-31. God answered my prayer by showing me how a few of my favorite things would allow me to enjoy great victory over my flesh and ultimately God’s continuous presence and power in my life.
This holiday, I went out Christmas shopping for friends and family. I don’t know if anyone else does this, but I usually end up buying a couple gifts for myself. Maybe even more than I do for others (sadly, i must admit.) At the first store, I bought myself two sweaters- one cream colored and one royal blue with a unique design. I tried them on and instantly loved and had to have both of them! Even though they were not on sale, I simply desired them for myself so much that I bought them. As I was leaving the store, God told me that I was to give the cream sweater to my mother and the blue sweater to my friend Bekah. Seriously? I love these sweaters! Ugh. And I went on shopping. When I got home, God continued to remind me of what he had asked. I decided to keep them both for myself instead. In fact, I wore the cream sweater to my mom’s house. As I was leaving her house, my mom, who never compliments what I wear, said “Hm. I really like that sweater.” Really, God? Ugh.
Then a couple days ago as I was going to put on a charm bracelet that I made for myself, God told me to give it to my friend Tina B. Really, God? This one? But it’s my favorite! I can’t ever make another one like it. He didn’t relent. I spoke with Bekah hoping to get some Christian guidance that would oppose God. Bekah loves me and is good about giving me a couple of perspectives including one on MY side. She reminded me of a necklace that Tina had wanted and how she would much rather have that. Yes! That’s what I was looking for! And so I went home satisfied that I would get to keep the bracelet.
As I was lying down that night, God said clearly, “It’s not about the bracelet. It’s about your favorite thing.” God began to reveal that this was the answer to my prayers to Him. I had prayed, “God, teach me how to die to myself.” This was the practical way. Take your favorite thing and give it away, and each time you do this, you will die to yourself… to your desires. This demonstrates your willingness to lay yourself down and also your utter trust in God. He reminded me of Abraham. His life was filled with this. When he gave the best land to Lot…. When he was willing to give up Isaac. God was teaching Him to die to himself and live in utter trust of God.
So, I put the bracelet in a gift bag and drove it over to Tina B. She began to gush about the personal significance of each charm on this one of a kind bracelet. She even told me that she liked it so much better than the necklace that she had wanted because it was so significant to her thereby meant so much to her. I walked out of her house elated with God’s love in obedience. Today I put the blue sweater in a bag to give to Bekah. I was on a roll. I had learned my lesson and would never withhold when God told me to give. I gave it to her before the church service, and she loved it. God’s presence was so near me throughout worship and the teaching. This was my reward. God was delighted in my obedience, and I felt it. If this is what dying to my desires feels like, I want to do it every day. I’ll give away everything. It’s so amazing. What are a couple sweaters and a bracelet next to the presence and delight of the eternal, uncreated, almighty, holy God?
If this has moved you, I pray that you will be obedient to give whatever He is asking to whomever He is telling you to give it. You will not be disappointed. You will be rewarded not just in heaven, but even now. Mark 10:30 It is only with God’s help that we are able to do this. So pray that He will give you the strength to obey. Mark 10:27