Imagine for a minute that after waiting to meet the right person, you finally meet them. Before long you are having dinner, and love springs into action. Former friendships or hangouts are put on the back burner and you just cannot get enough of each other’s company.
Wedding bells eventually follow and now there is a wonderful new person in your life who impacts every area of your existence. Whether you realized it or not, in a manner of speaking, you just willingly and joyfully died to yourself, to let them in!
It's often the same way with a new job. We may have prepared for much of our lives for that position or promotion, and then the day comes when either a wonderful door opens for us, or we achieve a critical milestone on our way to our career dreams or goals. With this new position, suddenly there is no longer any problem getting out of bed in the morning or putting in extra hours.
You pour everything into your new job with great delight, and with a spring in your step and a melody in your heart. You tell yourself over and over, “I have finally arrived!” Again whether you realized it or not you just willingly and joyfully died to yourself in order to succeed at your new career.
Christians often resist the thought of being revived spiritually. Even though they have ample zeal for a new relationship, or as mentioned, a new job opportunity, they tend to avoid churches, teachers and ministries that promote any Christian walk requiring self-death and total surrender to their Lord. Bear in mind an idol is any person, place or thing that you put ahead of the Lord.
Hebrews 12:14 instructs us to “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness without which no one will see the Lord! We must realize that this very serious admonition reveals to us just how important it is to not allow anything or anyone to become an idol in our lives.
Holiness, badly misrepresented for years in the form of legalistic restrictions of clothing, hair, or lack of jewelry, mostly imposed on women, actually simply means “to be set apart!” Set apart for God, and most appropriately by God and to the leading of His Holy Spirit. Most of the questions that I receive during the course of my revivalist ministry or as I witness in my community daily reveal to me that those asking the questions, have no intimate ongoing relationship with Christ by His Spirit!
Instead, they are trying unsuccessfully to do a “religious thing” andfind that their fruitless attempts to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps leave them unhappy and dissatisfied.
Those few who have discovered the tremendous freedom of finally surrendering every aspect of their life to our wonderful Savior the Lord Jesus Christ have found the awesomeness of the “Great Answerer”. However, in order to achieve total surrender, they have had to finally take a step that Jesus has every right to ask them to do because they have more than likely already taken it in other major areas of their lives.
They must take the step of dying to self to follow Christ. Jesus said to His disciples “If any man will come after me let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Matthew 16:24(NKJV)
The very creator of the universe, the One who said “Before Abraham was I am” John 8:58b (NKJV), hung on three nails for six hours and died for the sins of the entire world then rose from the dead. As the resurrected Savior He then remained on the earth for 40 days and was seen by over 500 people. That same Jesus has every right to ask us to die to ourselves for Him, as we may have already done for other people in other areas of our lives!!
In Mark 12:30 (paraphrased), we see thatJesus said that “the greatest commandment was to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” If it weren’t possible He would not have commanded it!
Rev Nolan J Harkness is the President and CEO of Nolan Harkness Evangelistic Ministries Inc. since 1985. He spent most of his adult life working in youth ministry. He also felt the calling of Evangelist/Revivalist and traveled as the door was open holding evangelistic meetings in churches throughout the Northeast. His website is www.verticalsound.org.