You may have heard someone say, “As a Christian, I need to die to self. It needs to be all of God and none of me. I must decrease so that he can increase.”
Many of us seem to be infatuated with killing ourselves, diminishing ourselves, or somehow preventing ourselves from being an obstacle to God. We are getting in God’s way, we think. We suspect that we are the problem.
We are not compatible with Jesus and what he wants to do with us. So maybe he is looking to remove us from the equation or get rid of some ugly part of us, we might think.
“Yeah, I know my old sinner self got put on the altar, but I guess I keep trying to crawl off!” We get a bit of questionable theology in the mix, and the picture isn’t any clearer. It’s pretty hard to relax with God if we think that we are just a tiny bit detestable to him as we currently are.
What’s missing? We’re neglecting a basic message of Christianity – that we already died with Christ (Rom. 6:6; Gal. 2:20). So we try to die again or die more. But our old self already died with him, not on an altar but on a cross.
And that death was final (Rom. 6:10–11). We died to sin. We died to the law (Gal. 2:19). But we didn’t just die; we were resurrected and made new at the core (Rom. 6:4; Eph. 2:6). So why are we trying to kill what has already been made new?
It’s so human to try to better ourselves or to want to clean ourselves and then somehow hit a “restart” button each and every day. We think we are the problem, when, counterintuitively, we are actually now part of the solution. God doesn’t want to replace us – he already did with a new self, a new creation.
We are now his spiritual offspring (John 3:6; Rom. 6:13; 1 Cor. 6:17). So he doesn’t want to replace us. He wants to embrace us!