I was surprised at my husband’s shocked reaction to my request. But then I’d had time to consider and pray about the weight of what I was asking . . .
I became a believer at the age of 12, but by my late 20s I was a divorced single mom with a successful career. For the next 17 years, I backslid into a world dominated by a cultural shift away from Christian values. Then my hairdresser invited me to a Harvest Crusade led by pastor Greg Laurie.
He challenged the crowd, “If you died tonight, are you ready?”
No, I wasn’t ready!
I didn’t know then the ramifications of my vow, but slowly my life began changing. I married a godly man, enrolled in seminary, and became deeply involved with ministry at our church.
But something still didn’t feel right. I was about the Lord’s work, yet so much of me was at the core of everything I did.
I opened my Bible and saw the problem and solution:
“We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives” (Romans 6:6 NLT).
“My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not ‘mine,’ but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that” (Galatians 2:19–20 The Message).
What Seemed a Simple Request
Convicted, I asked my husband, “Will you pray over me to completely die to myself and only live for Christ.”
I expected an enthusiastic, “Honey, that’s wonderful! Let’s do it now.”
Instead, he asked, “Are you sure? You really need to pray about that.” I assured him I had prayed and I had to get me out of the way to be about His work.
After praying about my request, Dave said if I was going to take such a significant spiritual step, he would take it with me. So we knelt, held hands, and prayed that God would help us die to our own agendas and live solely for Him. We didn’t expect suddenly to become selfless—it’s a lifelong process. But we did immediately feel the significance of our commitment to the Lord and to each other.
Naively, we thought our Bible study group at the time would be thrilled when we asked for their prayer support. Instead they said, “That’s great for you, but don’t expect us to go there with you.”
Experience the Blessing of Dying to Self
In the years since we exchanged our ways for God’s ways, God has seen us through challenging times and amazing times, and we’re careful to always give Him the glory. Dying to self has become a daily process.
If you too want to experience the blessings of dying to self, are you ready to
- Completely surrender your will to God’s will?
- Seek God’s direction before making decisions and respond accordingly?
- Be in the minority—sometimes even among fellow Christians?
- Care about others more than your own well-being and comfort?
- Live a countercultural lifestyle for Christ?
Don’t worry if you can’t answer yes to all the questions, and don’t be prideful if you can. Choose one area to start with and ask God to help you see things through His eyes, to hurt where He hurts and love how He loves. Get ready—you’re on your way to being about His work!
Janet Thompson, founder and director of About His Work Ministries, is an author and speaker on topics relevant to today’s Christian. She recently authored Face-to-Face with Lois and Eunice: Nurturing Faith in Your Family and Face-to-Face with Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah: Pleading with God.
Janet discovered her purpose when God called her to “Feed My sheep.” Janet answered that call by developing the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. Janet served as a lay minister for 12 years leading this ministry.
She and her husband, Dave, have 4 married children and love being Grammie and Grampa to 11 amazing grandchildren. They make their home in rural Idaho.
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Scripture marked The Message taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.