In Part 1 we looked at how we are to FACE THE REAL ISSUES:
In Part 2 we looked at how we are to DEAL WITH OUR ANGER:
Today we will look at the need to DIE TO SELF AND LIVE BY CHRIST:
Galatians 2:20 ESV I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
We might quickly say, "I have died to myself." Remember this, any place that I am offended, hurt, and angry in my heart is a place that I am not dead in Christ, but alive in the flesh. Dead men can't be offended, hurt and angered. I know this is hard but it is truth.
I have done a lot of funerals in my 40 years of ministry. I have never had a person in the coffin rise up and say that they disliked the color of the interior of the coffin or disliked the funeral flowers or disliked the service. Dead people don't have a choice nor are they hunt and offended.
Let me say that I am not trying to minimize the hurt or pain that you may have experienced in your life. I am only addressing the options we have in dealing with those experiences and the emotions tied to the hurt. We can own the pain and hurt and give it to Christ for healing, or the pain and hurt can own us and dictate our lives. When we live in anger, pain, hurt, and unforgiveness we are giving the keys of our mind and emotions to someone else to drive our lives as they please. I'm sorry, but life is short and I refuse to allow others to control my thoughts and feelings, while I roll around in self-piety playing the part of a damaged victim.
An open and deliberate decision to not live according to your old life and consciously to allow Christ to live out His life in you is a special and necessary part of deliverance from anger. When this is done, you open yourself to Christ's full work in your life.
There seems to be two aspects to dying to self. There is the initial dedication period which is like starting anew. There is also the regular daily moment-by-moment dying to self which starts with a daily morning prayer where we commit ourselves to the Lord honestly and without reservation or excuses. We make these choices every day. If we don't we will find ourselves building a wall of anger within us towards someone until one day we wake up and realize how far we have removed ourselves from God, His abundant life and His peace and joy.
(Ephesians 4:30 ESV) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
(Ephesians 4:31 ESV) Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.
(Ephesians 4:32 ESV) Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.