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Dying to Self, Part 3

• Greg Boyd

This week Greg continued his series on dying to self and its connection to discipleship by illustrating how this change radically alters a person’s perspective on individuality.

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This week Greg continued his series on dying to self and its connection to discipleship by illustrating how this change radically alters a person’s perspective on individuality.

Last week, Greg shared how dying to self revolutionizes a person’s understanding of physical life, death, and security. The daily discipline of dying to self is essential in a mature walk with Christ because it means the end of the “false self.” When the false self is in control, a person seeks to secure worth through the temporal world (i.e. riches, job, possessions, status, friendships, etc). In its propensity to secure its own existence apart from God, the false self blocks the flow of God’s love to, in, and through a person. God’s call to humanity is to surrender all to God. If this is done, the promise is that a person will find the treasure of Christ living in them (Galatians 2:20). The Fruit of the Spirit will characterize this person (see Galatians 5:22-23).

Building on last week’s sermon, Greg shared that living this way will radically change a person’s understanding of individuality. Greg acknowledged that this call to die to self could lead people to think that their uniqueness will be destroyed. Yet, the reality is the opposite. Greg affirmed every person’s need to feel unique. However, what is essential in distinguishing between a healthy and unhealthy sense of uniqueness is the means by which a person seeks it. The false self carves it out in competition. People attempt to be the best, the smartest, the holiest in comparison to others. Instead of resting in their God-given uniqueness, they actually demonstrate radical conformity by buying into the lie that they must strive to secure their worth and individuality.

God is calling us to wake up to the reality of the matrix of lies that says we must secure our own existence. The truth is that Jesus has come to give us abundant life in opposition to the stealing, killing, and destroying that marks the devil’s work (John 10:10). Moreover, this abundant life does not squelch our individuality, but actually rescues and establishes it.

Greg shared from Romans 8:29 that all people who are in Christ are predestined to be conformed into the image of Jesus. However, this conformity is not about homogeneity. Greg compared people’s uniqueness in the Kingdom of God to that of a prism. A prism is a pyramid-shaped stone or glass that refracts light into its various component colors. So also, when God’s light shines through the prism-like Kingdom of God into the individuals who comprise the Kingdom, each person reflects that singular experience of God’s light in their own unique way. In contrast to the false self that attempts to secure its own uniqueness through competition with others, the person who has died to self realizes that God alone is the source of his or her worth. If we will surrender all to God, then we will shine. We will be free to delight in and love God and others (Matthew 22:36-40).

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