“Die to Self?”

“Grace friends at Network 220, Plano, TX”

“How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” —Rom. 6:2 


My friend Willie Goggins got himself into a little argument over “a blunt and a dollar.” He’s known to be a little temperamental, especially when influenced by weed and alcohol. This time it cost him is life. His own cousin put a knife in his  heart and he bled out under a shade tree on Spartanburg’s south side.

For we will surely die and are like water spilled on the ground which cannot be gathered up again. Yet God does not take away life, but plans ways so that the banished one will not be cast out from him” (2 Samuel 14:14).

I believe Willie knew Jesus. He served at our church joyfully and often. He was honest about his enjoyment of a little weed from time-to-time and he carried a compassionate heart for others. He was giving, never took more than what he needed, and wore an infectious smile. I’ll miss him.

There are more “Willie’s” in the world. Kids at Upstate Evaluation Center in Union could wind up in the same condition if they don’t come to understand the Father as He is and not as they have  made Him.  God has opened a door wide as the current Captain, Mrs. Alexander, the Chaplain, Greg Daniels, and I have “hit it off.” I was able to spend two weeks (3-6 hours each day) with male and female teens in each of the four pods. Powerful interactions occurred as at-risk teens were permitted to vocalize their buried feelings and acknowledge their building anger.

I used the seven “Latent Soul” lessons (section 3 of “I AM HERE AM I”). It covers anger, grief, loss, and trauma resolution. It helps these kids put their feelings into words and listen to their own wounded hearts and the Healer’s comforting voice. God provided miraculously for the time I took off work. His provision was  more than enough.   

“I need to die to myself more.”

I keep hearing well-meaning Christians say what doesn’t seem consistent with the message of “Christ in you”—the gospel of grace and truth. I get what they mean; I’ve even used the same phrase myself, but I question whether what we’re saying is Biblically accurate…or even logical. Is there any benefit in beating a dead horse? I’ll admit that in my flesh is no good thing (Rm. 7:18), but I am not “in the flesh,” but “in the Spirit” (Rm. 8:9).

Paul makes it clear that we are to reckon as true what is the truth. We don’t make it true, we simply acknowledge that it is true already. “Hey, I’m dead to sin because I died with Christ” (Gal. 2:20). Could my friend Willie be any more dead? Any need to kill a corpse? No! It makes no sense to pay it any more attention to what Christ has put to death. To say we must die to what is no longer alive is pointless. It inadvertently places us in a state of unbelief where we think there is something else we need to do to “kill off” the old self. Are we not then adding to Christ’s finished work on the cross? Could we be swinging at a ghost?

Jesus knew better than to give us any say in our salvation or sanctification. It’s all His work. This is the mystery of Christ in you (Col. 1:27-28). You cannot be free without the truth. There is nothing more for you to do that has already been done. It is finished! Download the upgrade for your mind and be renewed. “Even so consider ourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:11). No need to beat yourself up any longer. Embrace the Truth Who has embraced you.