Somehow, that phrase "Die to Self" just doesn't become more appealing or for that matter easier. I'm certain that by now I have heard every form of how you can die to self. In a vehicle, I can let someone else get the front seat and die to self. In relationships, I can be the first one to go apologize, reconcile and die to self. In finances, I can consider the needs of others, share and die to self by not just making selfish provisions. Name an area of life and I'm sure I can name a way I can die to self in it. But knowing and doing are as far from each other as the East is from the West. Lately this warning has been ringing in my ears, James 1:22 "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." And in Luke 6:31 "And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise." I need to die to self and consider others.
Dying to self isn't even about self. It is a removing of the self and replacing it with someone else's concern or pleasure above my own. First and foremost, God's pleasure, then other's cares and concerns. Today I baked an apple pie, with some help, for no other reason than to do it for God and for the people who will be the recipients of it. I am not someone who bakes pie for the fun of it. In fact, I try to keep busy with everything else before I'll do kitchen work. So how did it come about that I would bake this pie? And with joy? Well, in my last speech I shared a practical way of how I can apply what God is teaching me about work from the book the Divine Embrace. In the book, it talks about Benedictine monks and that they equated prayer, study and work. And though I see myself as hard working I realized I do not have a healthy attitude towards some kinds of work such as baking pie and other kitchen related things. I shared in my speech that I have come to learn recently that if I dare to enjoy eating an apple pie I need the humility to bake an apple pie with a diligent spirit. Yes, and this pie isn't even for me.
God in His Sovereignty put an opportunity in front of me that even a blind man could see. Someone asked for an apple pie that was homemade and just like the ones we had provided at the Fall Fest. As I'm hearing this request I stand rolling my eyes at God saying, "is this a test?" He says, you can either put your speech where your mouth is or be a hypocrite with many word and no action. So, I baked the pie and did it with joy because it was simple obedience to what I knew to do. I love receiving fresh baked treats and I ought to take opportunity to give of my time to bless others by giving baked treats to them as well. I am floored by the way God speaks so directly into my life. He knew I needed to put into action the practical application of changing my attitude towards work and He provided an opportunity to do it.
Will I always get it right from now on? No, but always turn around if I'm heading in the wrong direction. Romans 6:13 says, " And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God." If God can use me to bless someone else then in fact I am alive to God and I am an instrument of righteousness. I tend to over spiritualize thing and say things like: "what good can come out of a pie?" Or, "how will that help anyone grow in their faith?" Those are good questions but what if the question I need to answer is actually: am I reflecting Jesus in my words, thoughts and actions right now and in this situation? I can read all the books on godly character that I want to but if there isn't an immediate change in my heart upon the Spirit speaking to me, then truthfully, I become more useless to God then useful. At the end of the day it's not about me dying to self because if I'll have done that, then I'll have forgotten all about me and I'll be able to think about God first, others second and then perhaps myself. As the Apostle Paul, I declare: "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21) I have not mastered this by far nor do I think it possible but this is my life goal because Jesus is my Saviour, my Lord, my Brother, my Redeemer and Example and I will follow Him. So, my attitude towards work has slightly changed... and praise the Lord, He's not finished with me yet.