“[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)
My 15-year-old son has a fondness for iPod games; ones where a creature has to jump, twist, dodge and dart in an effort to stay alive. Often he plays them on our short commute to school each morning.
As we drive, we go over pick-up instructions. (At the middle school after football practice? Or at the high school if there is optional weight-lifting that day? And what time?)
I also give my “Be sure your sins will find you out” lecture that my own sweet mama often gave me.
The man cub just keeps playing his game, acting as if he’s not listening. But I know he is. Often, when jockeying for position in the parental carpool line, I will inform my boy it’s time to get out of the vehicle. Usually, still engaged in the game he will utter the same phrase to me, “Hang on a second. I gotta die.”
As in, “I’m still finishing this round. I don’t want to power off just yet. Let my character finish this round until it dies. Then I will get out of the car.”
As he uttered it this morning, it spoke to my soul. As a follower of Christ, I am to die to self. But so often, I do not. I elevate self. I promote self. I think little of the other person and much of me.
But before I react … before I hurl a harsh word … before I pass judgment or speak unkindly to my husband or snap at my child, perhaps I need to take a deep breath …
To pause and ponder …
To say in a spiritual sense, “Hang on a second. I gotta die.”
Die to self.
Die to flesh.
Die to my “rights” that often result in my acting wrongly.
Yes, Paul said it best in 1 Corinthians 15:31, “I die daily.”
Does this mean in everything?
So often when we think of Jesus’ admonition that there is no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend, we think of the dramatic ways that might happen. We might jump in front of a car in order to get our friend out of harm’s way. A soldier might willingly give up his life on the battlefield.
But what if it also means that we learn to die to self in the every day details of life? In my interactions with others, especially with my husband? These daily, hourly and even moment-by-moment decisions sometimes seem difficult!
And, if trying in our own strength, they will also be impossible. It is at these junctures that we must draw deep from the power the Holy Spirit offers and let His proper response over-ride our natural and sinful one.
So, the next time we want to react in a way to my spouse that won’t please God, let’s remember my game-lovin’ man cub. And before we speak, let’s take a deep breath; a pause that centers our heart, snaps our soul to attention and gently declares …
Hang on a second. I gotta die.