To the quiet mind all things are possible. What is the quiet mind? A quiet mind is one that nothing weighs on, nothing worries, which, free from ties and from all self-seeking, is wholly merged into the will of God and dead to its own.
~Meister Eckhart (c. 1260-c. 1327)
…among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
~ paul, The Least of The Apostles, in Ephesians 2
Oh beloved, it is true. There is a great reformation at work in the world. A movement of younger Moravian-eyed believers have a call they yawp from the rooftops of their world.
“You are already dead, so you are free.”
They are right.
There is this profound mystery in the Gospel. It is not the most enigmatic, but it is a doozy. We were alive in some fallen way at one time, but really we were Dead. And now, we are dead, but really exceedingly, abundantly Alive and free in Him.
It seems that the mystery is solved by simply understanding the seat of power in our life. In the past, we lived in and for the passions and desires of our flesh. What our body and desires wanted we the primary concerns of our existence. And it was in this dead-end approach to living that we were headed in a very bad direction, from which there was no escape.
Now, our lives are wrapped up in, by, for and through Him…. and Him in, by, for and through us. Yet, in all this unity – He has taken the comprehensive and center stage in our existence. This comprehension of Him has not just become a focus in our new life; He is our Life. And it is in this new Life, which is Him, that we become dead to any of our old self.
Can we see it? We are dead. And we are profoundly, wonderfully, abundantly free.
We no longer have any need to fear.
We no longer have any need to be anxious.
We no longer have any need to sin.
We no longer have any need to respond when wronged.
We no longer have any need to even be right.
We no longer have any need to ever (read never, ever) be alone again.
We no longer have any need to be selfish.
We no longer have any need to even listen to the old flesh begging for some scraps to fall in its direction. (Oh beloved, that old man will scream for attention! But that old dead self neither requires [nor deserves] digging up, attention, analysis, validation, recognition, sustenance, encouragement, financing, or friends.)
We no longer have any need, except Him, because we are dead to everything else.
And it is in this truth – that we find ourselves dead to ourselves and Alive in Him – that are set free to be the person that we have always wanted to be.
We begin to think like Him.
We begin to sound like Him.
We begin to Love like Him.
We begin to desire justice.
We begin to love mercy.
We begin to actually have and hold a bit of humility.
We are becoming (in some mysterious way) joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, gentle, good, and self-controlled.
This fool believes those young Moravian-eyed reformers may just be on to something…
Death is only painful to him who resists it. The imagination exaggerates its terrors. The spirit argues endlessly to show the propriety of the life of self. Self-love fights against death, like a sick man in the last struggle. But we must die inwardly as well as outwardly. The sentence of death has gone forth against the spirit as well as against the body. Our great care should be that the spirit of self dies first. For then our bodily death will be but a falling asleep. Happy are they who sleep this sleep of peace!
~François de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon
“Death to self” is, most definitely not, just a theological buzz-phrase.
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.
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
1 Peter 4:1-2
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. …
Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
2 Timothy 2:11
The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.