“[I assure you] by the pride which I have in you in [your fellowship and union with] Christ Jesus our Lord, that I die daily [I face death every day and die to self].” – 1 Corinthians 15:31 AMP
“For we who live are constantly [experiencing] being handed over to death for Jesus’ sake, that the [resurrection] life of Jesus also may be evidenced through our flesh which is liable to death.” – 2 Corinthians 4:11 AMP
A year ago at Upper Room Dallas on my birthday weekend (this year, Sunday Oct 21, 2018), the Lord taught me about what it looks like to let my dreams die by surrendering them completely to Him, so He can bring them to life (see Surrender the Seeds blog post for full story). I’m realizing a year later though that birthing God’s promises in my life STILL looks like dying DAILY! Just as a plant is not birthed unless the seed first dies, the Lord wants to teach us how to die to ourselves and live in complete trust and reliance on Him so He can bless our lives exponentially more!
“Therefore we do not become discouraged (utterly spiritless, exhausted, and wearied out through fear). Though our outer man is [progressively] decaying and wasting away, yet our inner self is being [progressively] renewed day after day. For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!” – 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 AMP
This is not a cruelty in ANY way compared to what the Lord has for us, and we can’t miss what He’s doing when we’re truly seeking and desiring Him above it all (future blog to come on this!), BUT acceleration of this process happens when you partner with God by asking Him what needs to be put to death in your life. All of us are different, and there could be thousands of different things He may speak to you (He is so personal), but here are three things the Lord showed me that need to die so I can set my focus on Him and avoid discouragement when things don’t go the way I planned…
1. Death to Expectations
It’s good to have expectations – to get your hopes up in the Lord! However, it just may be that God is going to do something totally different than you ever expected. In fact, He spoke to me this weekend that He will ALWAYS do things differently than we expect because He is a God who does exceedingly above all we could ever ask, think, or imagine! Therefore, we have to let go of the expectations we previously held onto as to HOW the dreams He put in our heart are going to happen in order to embrace how He TRULY wants to bring them about.
Get your hopes up to the highest extent – but in the Lord, NOT in the expectations you have created for yourself. It’s so much better His way.
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21
2. Death to Pride
A part of partnering with the Lord for the promises He has for you MAY (definitely will) blatantly confront pride in your heart. Not only will you have to put to death some expectations that you previously wouldn’t budge on, but you will also most likely be called to do some things you always said you would “never” do in order to align yourself with what God has for you. This means that your life is no longer about you, but about surrendered, unhindered obedience to GOD.
“Faith without works is dead.” – James 2:26
If faith without works is already dead, why not do the things that you thought would (figuratively) kill you before? If it’s something I always said I wouldn’t do, but it doesn’t go against His Word, then it’s not off limits of Him asking me to do it! However, the Lord says that those who trust in Him will not be put to shame, meaning, what He asks of you is not going to embarrass or ruin you. It’s actually for your good! He is teaching us how to die to our flesh and live reliant on Him, not ourselves. The issue is not just in saying that you will never do something, but in not staying prideful enough to not do it when He asks you.
3. Death to Having to Understand
This one gets me the most. So often I catch myself mapping my life off of the prophetic words that so many people have given me over the years, trying to piece together how my life is going to look based on all of them. But if I’m only moving in my life based on what makes sense to me or how I think it’s going to work, then am I following God or my own thinking and reasoning?
The Lord LOVES to share His secrets with us of our future potential and all that He has for us…but He doesn’t tell us everything – otherwise, we wouldn’t rely on Him!
I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t want to be someone who finds out they’re trusting in themselves and not the Lord for my salvation, life, future, or ANYTHING in life. His ways are higher and His thoughts are higher, which means He is INFINITELY more loving and kind, and His plans are SO MUCH BETTER for me than I could ever even figure out. If I have this perspective, then it’s actually good that I don’t understand. 🙂
“Where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears…For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then (in heaven) I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” – 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 (parentheses mine)
“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
Receiving what the Lord has for you will cause you to die to your expectations, pride, and having to understand, however, when those seeds die, they will be birthed into a tree of life that will supply fruit for you and others.
Therefore, take courage from 1 Corinthians 15 that when all you feel are a thousand daily deaths, what’s actually happening inside of you is RESURRECTION.
“36 Every time you plant seed, you sow something that does not come to life [germinating, springing up, and growing] unless it dies first.
37 Nor is the seed you sow then the body which it is going to have [later], but it is a naked kernel, perhaps of wheat or some of the rest of the grains.
38 But God gives to it the body that He plans and sees fit, and to each kind of seed a body of its own…
42 So it is with the resurrection of the dead. [The body] that is sown is perishable and decays, but [the body] that is resurrected is imperishable (immune to decay, immortal).
43 It is sown in dishonor and humiliation; it is raised in honor and glory. It is sown in infirmity and weakness; it is resurrected in strength and endued with power.
44 It is sown a natural (physical) body; it is raised a supernatural (a spiritual) body. [As surely as] there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body…
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be firm (steadfast), immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord [always being superior, excelling, doing more than enough in the service of the Lord], knowing and being continually aware that your labor in the Lord is not futile [it is never wasted or to no purpose].” – 1 Cor 15:36-38, 42-44, 58 AMP
Whatever the Lord allows to be put to death in your life – if you partner with Him in that process – will be raised to life in a better form. Dying to yourself is a part of living for Him. The life He has for you is way better. 🙂 Don’t lose heart!