I attended a funeral this morning for a man who had not lived a long or particularly well-lived life. He spent much of his time on this earth steeped in the mire of selfishness. Sure, he did a few good deeds here and there. Yes, he said kind things when it suited his purposes. However, much of what he did and said reflected his own nature more than it did the God he purported to serve.
The service didn’t last very long, and there were few words said about the deceased. What more was there to say, after all? The brevity of the service said more about the person’s life than anything else could.
When it was over, I stood and walked out. I was challenged and changed by the mystery of what had just happened.
I attended a funeral this morning. It was my own.
“The warfare against self is the greatest battle that was ever fought. The yielding of self, surrendering all to the will of God, requires a struggle; but the soul must submit to God before it can be renewed in holiness.” —E.G. White, Steps to Christ, 43.3
I’ve previously written about morning devotions and the importance of daily time with God—and time is important, to be sure. However, the great need during this time is for prayerful surrender—for complete submission to our heavenly Father. After all, as it was for Jesus, so it should be for us. Submission precedes death, which by its very nature, must come before new life. The Bible tells us that when we’re in Christ, we are a new creation, for the old self has passed away (2 Corinthians 5:17). This powerful idea of dying and being reborn with Christ within us isn’t some cliché Christian trope; it’s a central theme within the gospel message and a necessary passage within the Christian journey.
As odd as it may seem, I pray that you start tomorrow with a funeral—as well as every day thereafter. Because dying to self each day is the only way to live.