One of my favorite Christmas movies to watch over and over again is Elf. When Buddy the Elf gets wind that Santa is coming to visit the store, he is overjoyed! He exclaims loudly, “Santa! I know him!”
Today, in my spiritual walk with Christ, that is exactly how I feel.
JESUS. I know Him!
And if you knew Him the way I do, you’d be pretty overjoyed, too. Actually, you’d be overtaken with emotion. More powerful than your natural body or mind can even begin to comprehend.
What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ– the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith (Philippians 3:8-9, NIV).
I was sitting in church listening to my pastor teach. His words were hitting a sensitive spot that morning. I could feel “that feeling” start to bubble up. It’s that feeling I get when I can feel the Holy Spirit’s presence. My heart races, and I feel a stirring deep in my gut like nothing else I have ever felt before. It’s definitely hard to describe with words. But if you’ve ever felt the Holy Spirit for yourself, then you know we all have different responses.
I could feel it coming, and then like a switch got flipped, the tears started rolling. It’s an overtaking emotion when the Holy Spirit wrecks me. I usually don’t even see it coming. That day, I was totally blind-sided. And I jokingly said to a friend of mine that I wish Holy Spirit would give me some heads up before He wrecks me, that way I could have tissues handy. And maybe I would lay off the mascara a little. But probably not because I do love my mascara. Ha!
But then it wouldn’t be near as sweet. That over sweeping feeling. If I saw it coming, I am sure it wouldn’t be as powerful.
A young man was walking down to the front during the invitational (if you’ve never been to a Baptist church, this is at the end when the pastor invites anyone to the front for prayer or to accept Jesus into their hearts as Lord and Savior) and I was already sniffling up a storm. As soon as I saw him making his way down, any repose I had was lost. All of it just flew out the window. That young man gave his life to Christ that day. And I was beyond excited for him. So pumped that I couldn’t wait to hug his neck. Yes, I couldn’t wait to hug a stranger! But that’s the thing: he wasn’t a stranger at that moment. He and I are tied together by the blood of Christ. And it’s beautiful. It’s majestic. It’s Jesus.
I got to the front of the line and, of course, I introduced myself before I went in for the hug. You know what’s really weird about this? I am not a hugger. AT ALL. Let alone hugging strangers. I barely want to hug my closest friends or family.
But that’s the thing about dying to yourself…you become more like Christ.
What Would Jesus Do?
And what would Jesus do if He saw that sweet young man giving his life over to Him? He would say, “Welcome home, My precious. Welcome home.” And then give him the biggest, warmest hug he’s ever experienced. So without any second thought, that’s what I did. When I saw his tear-streaked face, I just thought “THIS. THIS is what it’s all about!” I wanna do that every day.
He must become greater; I must become less.
John 3:30 (NIV)
Enter the ‘Business of Dying’ to Self
Letting go of your earthly desires. And becoming more Christ-like. I know, seems like a huge undertaking, right? But don’t get overwhelmed at the thought. It’s actually way more simplistic than you think! And you literally have the instruction manual at your disposal. The Gospel. God’s living Word.
Philippians 2:3-4, NIV says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others…”
Please don’t stop there, but keep reading in your Bible as He outlines exactly how to be more Christ-like.
Wanna know where He gets me here? Take a look at Philippians 2:14 (NIV).
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life…
You guys! He said do EVERYTHING without complaint OR arguing. Yep, I am pretty sure that little bit there was specifically for me. How many times have I questioned my Father? Not sure there is a number big enough. Dying to self means I don’t second-guess my Father. It means I have surrendered so deeply that I trust—that I trust. And here’s another confession. I have trust issues. There was a time in my life where I lived fully trusting in those I loved, deeply loved. I trusted them without a second thought. When you experience a trauma, it changes you. I think that’s pretty obvious. And the tragedy I experienced left me scarred and NEVER trusting anyone or anything ever again. Until, now…
My trust issues are absolutely a few different blog posts all on their own. So I’ll just say this—Dying to self, for me, means trusting my Father without a shadow of a doubt.
What does it mean for you?
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on rebekadoesitblog.com
Featured Image by Ben White