Wow, what an awakening Jesus can give us so early in the morning. It started for me when I had poured my first cup of coffee and began to read my devotion for today. It was entitled, The Transformed Life. It centered around Peter’s confusion/denial of Christ to the point of him becoming one of Christ’s best apostles. It ends with the words that Peter had learned to “die to self”.
I have heard this term of dying to self for much of my life and it resonates when I do hear it. However, this morning it did more than resonate within me. It has stuck! Celebrate Recovery’s very first lesson is called–Denial. It is all about our need to stop denying what we are hiding: an addiction, tremendous bitterness/hatred, ugly hurts from our past/present and so much more. Of late Jesus has been teaching me to quit denying my flesh and to realize I am a man of flesh. It doesn’t mean that in my flesh I will be like my brother or like my dad. In my flesh means that Earnie has temptations and it makes me human, not my brother or my dad. It is the result of being born into a sin nature. My brother and my dad were born into their own sin nature.
Today, this morning, I am challenged to take Peter’s assignment from Christ and “die to my flesh”. Now that I am no longer bound by the chains of abuse and addictions of the present, Christ wants me to die to my flesh. Here is what scripture says about this: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24. As long as I kept my past a secret, my addiction a secret, there was only bondage within me and I was a “grain of wheat” being held tightly in the grip of my own hands. As I’ve begun to step out and tell, seek help and surrender, I am planting my grain of wheat and it has begun to multiply. Now today, Christ is asking me to die to self, to deny my flesh. This is exactly what He did for me (us) when He went to the Cross. He could do this because He died to His own flesh so He could be totally obedient to God His (our) Father. Remember Christ’s words in the Garden of Gethsemane? He said, “Let this cup pass from me–nevertheless, not as I will but as Thou wilt.” He was dying to His own flesh.
I’m going to need to stay with this lesson the rest of my life. However, I do not want to lose sight of its critical importance to my relationship with Jesus Christ, God my Father and The Holy Spirit.