When something is dead, it can never come back to life. It won’t spring up like a bitter root, defiling a man (Hebrews 12:15). It no longer has any power over us because it no longer exists.
Contrary to what the modern church world is teaching, much of Christianity is about suffering loss:
… every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
We are God’s husbandry (1 Corinthians 3:9). He plants us where He will, waters us as we grow, and increases our fruit bearing by removing what is unnecessary or undesirable in our lives.
Recall, Jesus called us with these words:
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
Certainly, we are die to our own will and live to the will of God, daily: this is an ongoing process of death and sacrifice.
However, there are some things that must be removed entirely from our lives–and not only carnal loves, which are contrary to the Spirit–but also even thingsnormally considered as necessary for life [godly needs], but which,asordained sufferings, are intended to conform us to Christ. Consider: the son of man had no place to lay his head [no home], never had a wife, and was even asked to give up His physical life by the means of an excruciating process of torture and torment; yet, He became the perfect Captain of our Salvation by His obedience to God (Hebrews 2:10).
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit(1). He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal(2). If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be(3): if any man serve me, him will my Father honor(4). Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour (5).
Consider the following:
Without a willingness to die to the self will, our own desires, propensities, and predilections, we cannot live to Christ. This is not a destruction of our God-given personality or a hatred of self, but a willingness to allow God to establish His rule [peace and order] in our lives: to allow Him to have Supremacy in every thing. Remember, Christ-like obedience is rewarded by others’ blessings: Paul said, “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory,” (2 Timothy 2:10).
Obedience leads to joy. We are to embrace God-ordained sufferings and times of lack, as necessary trials and faithful testimonies of a life in Christ. This is the real bread of the kingdom–to be content in all things–“for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them,” (Ephesians 2:10).
Paul was an imitator of Christ. While in a Roman jail, he noted that he was a partaker in Christ’s ministerial sufferings, as a fellow laborer with God “who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church,” (Colossians 1:24).
God upholds the faithful, as embracing the sufferings associated with godly service qualifies us to rule with Christ, as faithful children of God and possessors of a heavenly inheritance: “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself,” (2 Timothy 2:12-13).Pointedly, life is filled with necessary sufferings.
If we are sometimes troubled by the uncompromising consequences of our obedience to God, we have good company in Christ whose soul was also troubled by His own sufferings in ministry: and while it is normal to desire deliverance, it is also needful that we suffer loss, for we are called to times of trouble.
Let us meditate upon these verses:
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.