The concept of “dying to self and living for Christ” is well-known in the church today, but sounds awfully drastic to those who are not schooled in church jargon. To be clear, the idea is that we have competing desires within each of us, a sinful nature and a soul that craves God and His will. A gross over-simplification is the old image of the devil and angel sitting on our shoulders.
I fully accept that we are saved by faith in Christ alone. That said, I also know that having received that gift that I am called to become more like Him through the aid and grace of the Holy Spirit. The hard part is stamping out that selfish devil. I know what to be on the lookout for:
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. … Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. – Galatians 5:19-24 NLT
Pay off house
Save for College
Pay off unsecured debt
Get appropriately insured
Financial Peace University grads will recognize Dave Ramsey’s baby steps in these priorities. I will also be the first to admit that there are those who are strong-willed and disciplined enough to keep perspective and can leave those top items up there. I know myself, though, and I know that even having these items on my list is a temptation. So they’re off. For now, at least. Dying to self.