In his book, Joy in Your Life, Charles Spurgeon recalls a story of an elderly woman who when asked about the fear of dying replies, “Afraid to die, sir? I have dipped my foot in Jordan every morning before breakfast, for the last fifty years, and do you think I am afraid to die now?” In speaking to believers, Spurgeon says, “We die hundreds of times. We ‘die daily’. We die every morning; we die each night when we sleep; by faith we die. And so, dying will be old work when we come to it. We will say, ‘Ah, death, you and I have been old acquaintances. I have had you in my bedroom every night. I have talked with you each day. I have had the skull upon my dressing table. I have often thought of you. Death, you have come at last, but you are a welcome guest. You are an angel of light and the best friend I have had.’ Why dread death since there is no fear of God leaving you when you come to die?”
It’s easy to say that as a believer I welcome death. It’s another thing entirely to live it out daily. We live in such a self-focused, self-absorbed, self-centered world. Our very nature is selfish. Our very sin nature, that is. I know the struggle well. In an attempt to elevate self my own flesh, the world around me, and the great enemy cries out. Focus on you. Put yourself first. Look out for number one. Do what is best for you. Don’t worry about others. Think of yourself. Do whatever it takes to make you happy. These are the lies whispered in my ear.
Because of the infatuation with self. I want the easy life – not the one that is best.
I want happiness – not true joy.
I want to be without pain – not growing.
I want to be free of all troubles and trials – not be a witness.
But something within me recognizes the lies. My spirit is quenched. And in that fleeting moment of clarity I run back to the source of all truth. I pick up God’s Word and dwell in the reality of death – death to self.
As Paul addresses the Corinthians he says, “I die daily.” In Colossians he exhorts us to put to death the old man and put on the new man. For we are dead and our life is hid with Christ in God. Like the dear saint in the story I should every day wake to die; die to myself, die to my flesh, die to my desires, die to my wishes, die to my wants. There is victory over death; therefore there is a death that is welcome. And in that death, I live. Life. Everlasting life. Victorious life. Abundant life! This is my prayer. This is my desire. Die to self and live for Christ, a selfless life of sacrifice putting others first. To serve and love in the name of my Lord. To truly live.
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”(Rom 6:6-11)