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Dying to Self

 

This process of learning to become godly women is a VERY painful process – especially at first. There are no short cuts!!

It is all about our relationship with Christ. It is about our willingness to reverence and submit to Jesus and to desire Him FAR ABOVE all other things of this world. That is the entire crux of the matter! My motives matter here! If I am trying to obey God just to get the feelings I want or the “stuff” I want (my husband’s full attention, romance, happiness, a lovely house, children, etc…), I have missed the entire point!

I have to have pure motives – desiring to obey God’s Word out of reverence for and love for Christ alone.

What I am advocating is to completely expose your deepest soul to God and allow Him to search the darkest recesses with the blazing light of His Word. And then to allow God’s Spirit TOTAL access and grant Him complete Lordship and the ability to decide what stays and what goes. And anything He finds offensive – well, it simply has to go. No question.
God is Lord now, NOT ME! This means facing your deepest fears, challenging your definition of God, your understanding of His sovereignty, your true beliefs that govern your decisions and priorities, seeing the mountains of sin that you may not have even known were there, and being willing to part with all of that humbly before our mighty God. It means wrestling with God over those most painful issues and deciding whether you actually can trust Him or not.

Is He REALLY BIG enough?

This is DEEP, LIFE-CHANGING, PARADIGM SHIFTING stuff.

This is where you tear out everything from your heart but Christ and are willing to give up all that is dear to you – laying it on the altar to God. You die to your dreams, your desires, your wants, your goals and your plans. You embrace His will, His desires, His dreams, His goals, His plans and His life for you – even if that means not getting what you really wanted, and even if that means going through the “worst case scenario” in your mind.

You will have to personally wrestle with these questions and decide –

  • Can I really trust God – the God of the Bible as He has revealed Himself, not as I want Him to be?
  • Is He who He says He is?
  • Is His Word true or not?
  • Will I build my life on the Rock of Christ, His Word and His promises, or on the sinking sand of trusting SELF?

Let us be willing to die to ourselves! Let us joyfully give up our rights, our goals of happiness and all that we hold dear and cling only to Christ, out of thankfulness and profound gratitude for ALL He has done for us (paying our incalculable sin debt to God”)!

The thing is, you can’t be a godly woman on your own. You can’t just be quiet and smile and hold the raging ocean of sinful thoughts, emotions and negativity inside while you pretend to be “nice” on the outside. This journey requires a total heart change – regeneration that is only possible through God’s Spirit. Eventually, we don’t even THINK the sinful thoughts – because He has so transformed us.
It is a total heart change. By God’s power working in us and through Jesus’ work for us on the cross, we nail the old sinful self to the cross and recognize that it is crucified and buried with Christ. Then we put on the new man in Christ and receive all that Jesus has done for us. He gives us a new heart and transforms our thinking.

Ultimately, Jesus did ALL of the work for us on the cross to make us right with God. And ultimately, it is His power that gives us the ability to walk in obedience to Him moment by moment. It is ALL about Him working for us and living in us.

Lord, help us to lay down our desires and let us desire only what YOU desire in our lives and in this world. Let us desire NOTHING in heaven or earth besides You! If we do NOT have His Spirit – it is IMPOSSIBLE to be the women Jesus calls us to be. God’s Spirit alone is our power source!
Some women think that I am saying THEY alone are fully responsible for all the problems in their relationships and that I am expecting them to take 100% of the blame. This is NOT at all what I am saying. Men are all sinners, and so are women. Men have their own accountability and responsibility before God and will stand before Him one day – just as we will.
I am asking us to focus on our own responsibilities, our own sins and our side of our relationships because God holds us responsible for ourselves. We can’t control other people. We have to trust God to deal with them. And really, we can’t even change ourselves – but we can allow God the freedom and permission to change us and we can respond as He opens our spiritual eyes. So that is where we have to put our focus. That is where our power is! When we are cherishing sin in our hearts – we grieve and alienate the Spirit of God. We cannot have God’s power flowing full strength in us when we are embracing sin and getting cozy with it.

FOR WOMEN WHO HAVE BEEN ABUSED:

Please check out this post about how “dying to self” can be dangerously misunderstood.

NOTE:
I do want to mention – this is something we each choose to do ourselves. It is not appropriate for me to demand that another believer needs to “die to self” to do what I want him/her to do. I can’t force others to obey God. I can set a godly example. I can ask for what I need and desire. I can share my insights and perspective. But I don’t get to control other people or dictate to them what they should do.

My husband should be living wholeheartedly for Christ and leading and loving as Jesus did, laying down his life for me to portray the love of Christ. But it is not my place to say, “You need to die to yourself and do X, Y, and Z to lead me properly.” It is possible for me to try to manipulate my husband, or other believers, in this way, for my own selfish purposes.

 

QUOTES FROM E.M. Bounds – “The Necessity of Prayer”

  • If you desire to pray to God, you must first have a consuming desire to obey Him.
  • If you want free access to God in prayer, then every obstacle of sin or disobedience must be removed.
  • Those who have never wept concerning their sins, have never really prayed over their sins.
  • Until (the step of unquestioning obedience) is taken, prayer for blessing and continued sustenance will be of no use.
  • Praying that does not result in right thinking and right living, is a farce.
  • We must quit praying or our bad conduct.

– I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” – Galatians 2:20-21
– So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. – Galatians 5:16-24

RELATED:

Dying to Self Can Be Dangerously Misunderstood

Isn’t Loving and Respecting Myself Selfish and Wrong? – by Radiant

60 thoughts on “Dying to Self

  1. Thank you for sharing this. Knowing that change is always a process is a reminder I need everyday. When God began to reveal to me what I needed to change, I was so eager to pick it up, hand my sinful behavior to Him, and tell Him to take it away. But that isn’t exactly how it worked and the process has been very uncomfortable. It was as if God was telling me, “let’s take a look at your behaviors and really examine them, and let me teach you why they are hurtful, first”. It was after I became so repulsed by my own behaviors and recognized my helplessness to change them, that God slowly and gently gave me graces in each moment to make small changes and it was as If at that moment he began to take them from me one piece at a time. If God had not allowed me to become very uncomfortable with my sin, and he would have just magically changed my behavior in an instant, I would have learned nothing and have zero appreciation for the realization that He has created me to be a beautiful daughter in His kingdom who carries herself with dignity, respect and love.

    1. Julie,

      Oh wow!!!!! This is such a powerful, wonderful insight. 🙂 I LOVE IT!!!!! Would you please consider allowing me to share this on my Peaceful Wife Blog FB page anonymously? What a blessing!

  2. This is so gloriously true and I appreciate this April! Thank you for sharing the truth in the most loving way. Hugs to you!

  3. This was a good blog post, though I think the quotes by E.M Bound are confusing. We may come boldly to the throne of grace in prayer because Jesus paid for our sins. We don’t have to quit praying until we overcome our “bad conduct”- in fact, it is prayer itself that helps us to overcome it.
    I don’t think we should quit praying and wait around until we have a burning desire to obey Him in all, and have overcome bad conduct, etc… but prayer is a very important tool IN developing these heart changes. Eg, “Lord, I don’t have an overwhelming desire to obey you- help me!” “Lord, I believe. Help thou mine unbelief.”

    Jenny

    1. Jenny,

      Thanks for sharing! I’m so sorry that the quotes are confusing… here is my understanding:

      EM Bounds is not suggesting that we quit praying. He is saying we need to walk in obedience which is what Jesus said, too.

      Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. John 14:23-24

      So if we realize we have “bad conduct” the remedy is – we repent of it and take it immediately to Christ to get rid of it and to ask Him to give us victory over our sin.

      And yes! Absolutely if we are struggling with not wanting to obey, we can pray for God’s help! 🙂

      And yes! Absolutely – we can come boldly to the throne of grace in prayer because of Jesus’ work on the cross on our behalf. 🙂

      Much love!

      1. Jenny,

        I do think it is important to keep in mind, that even though we can come to the throne of grace boldly because of Jesus’ work on the cross on our behalf, we cannot cherish sin in our hearts and have fellowship with God. Eph. 4:29-30. And if we do cherish sin in our hearts, God will not hear our prayers – Ps. 66:18.

        So YES! We have access to the Holy of Holies because of what Jesus did for us. We also, therefore, have a responsibility to seek to live obedient lives out of love and gratitude. Our obedience does not get us to the throne of grace, but because Jesus lives in us and we now have His Spirit, He can and will empower us to live in victory over sin as we seek Him and allow His Spirit to have control.

        If there is known sin in our lives, we must repent of that before we attempt to pray about anything else. Great example is in the Lord’s prayer.

  4. PS, you can continue to show her love in many ways and still have healthy boundaries against behaviour that is sinful and abusive. Ask God to show you what would actually reach her heart. Hugs to you.

  5. Many times when someone is very controlling toward others – and when they use manipulation, guilt, etc… it is often a matter of that the person has SELF on the throne of his/her heart. I know that was true for me! I seriously believed everyone should submit to me and bow down to me. 🙁 That sounds awful to say it out loud. But I had SELF as god in my life and expected other people to, as well.

    It is not a gift to anyone to cooperate with that kind of sin – or any sin!

    Thankfully, God can empower us to respond in godly ways even when we are being sinned against. And God may use us to pray for those who need deliverance from this kind of serious, deep-rooted sin.

  6. Dear Sister April,

    Another excellent post.

    Another perspective: a Godly man gives his life to Jesus Christ, his example for man as opposed to woman is of sacrifice, sacrifice to allow his family to be surrounded by protection.

    A beautiful song:
    https://youtu.be/jNNzpitUD_0

    This song is based on this verse from Psalms:
    As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever. (Psalm 125:2 KJV)

    Thank you all my brothers and sisters,
    Jesuscentreoflife

      1. Very inspiring song. Thank you for sharing it ! The post really spoke to me as well. It is my heart’s cry to trust Jesus so much that even when hard times come I will die to what comes naturally …. fear, anxiety, panic …. and just completely rest in his care knowing he will take care of it all. Just like the song said To know that he surrounds us. He is so good!

        1. Yes, that is truly the thing: in my bible study today, I came across this wonderful verse:
          But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God (Galatians 5:16 AMP)
          We are in this world, to grow stronger in Christ and to learn to walk more nearly with and by Him. But truly this is not our world.
          I love this expression: lean in to Jesus. It is what children do when they feel insecure with the world. They lean into a trusted adult they wish to be wrapped inside them. When dear brothers and sisters, we can perceive our own insecurity as some dark or disturbing and force rises up to confront us, and then lean in to the comfort and strength, knowing that we will be given power to overcome, then we have made a step.
          Just as the manna came down from Heaven every day for the Israelites, so grace is given when we ask for it.

          Dear Lord, give me strength for this long day and hard meeting ahead,
          That can be enough, then we know that there is a hand on our shoulder.

          Thank you Jesus, for bringing me all these friends,
          Jesuscentreoflife

          1. Jesuscentreoflife,

            Love that word picture about children leaning into a trusted adult and how we can do that with God. 🙂

          2. I really really like this idea of leaning in… As I’ve processed some of my own issues I’ve often thought of how, as a child, I wanted to get that big bear hug from my dad that seemed to make the scary thing just disappear, or at least let me feel safe from the world for a little while.

            I’m confused about the part you wrote about us leading in to God, I think there was a typo that made hard for me to decipher. Were you suggesting that our own insecurity is something of the evil one? That’s interesting to think if it like that. Or maybe it’s just a straightforward analogy to lean in to our Heavenly Father in a similar way. I like it. Reminds me of my current memory verse: palm 46:1, “God is my refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble.” And other verses about being wrapped in the father’s wing, or idea that he’s got me in the palm of his hand.

  7. Seriously…you have hit the mark here….! Again.

    I just went thru a week of this soul searching with God. I realized thru the Holy Spirit that I was over worrying. Over worrying about family, debts, children, life in general. It got to point it controlled my emotions at times and my attitude even. I finally realized I was not Trusting God as my LORD…!!!! I say I do, but my heart says different. My lord is my worries, cares of this life.

    As a woman, mom, wife…we worry…! It’s in our nature….BUT when you take it to another level where it controls your mind 24/7 or thoughts, it becomes a weakness, a distraction with your relationship to God.

    So I sat down and read every verse about worry…..listened to hundreds of sermons and came to found out Jesus said NOT to worry, not to fear not to fret more than anything else. Like He knew….. 😊 then I wrote down a list..one by one of my deepest darkest secrets within. Whether it be something from my childhood that affected my worrying, my not trusting God, my not letting go of my attitude of having to be in control all the time over my life, my failure to let Jesus be Lord over everything, etc, etc. I wrote down every detail, every sin, every secret. Exposing myself to God.

    Then I fasted for that morning and read through my list out loud and surrendered it over to God. I imagined myself putting it at the foot of the cross and saying, Jesus..you promised to take my heavy burdens and carry them Yourself. You promised that You would take care of me, that I needed to Trust You and hand it over. So here it is…!!! I am handing it over to You. My worries will no longer consume me, I choose joy, contentment and trust now. And I left all my worries there at His feet. It was truly a freeing event of my life…!! Every now and then when Satan tries to creep worry in….I just remind myself of the verses I read over like 100 times and say to myself, I am not going to fail God…! I gave Him my worries and I trust Him. Jesus is truly Lord…..amen.

    1. Roseey,

      LOVE this! I went through a very similar process – and still do hash through a similar process whenever necessary – to overcome fear and worry by deciding to trust in God completely.

      How I long for all of us to get to experience the blessing, joy, and peace of resting in God’s love, provision, and sovereignty and giving up worry! WOOHOO! 🙂

  8. This is such a great post. How do you practically live it out? Tonight I’m sitting at home alone, putting kids to bed, while hubby has been out three nights in a row watching sports. Do I seek Jesus and trust Him that He will reward me? When I don’t feel like I’m getting help, I work even harder and get it done, and don’t say anything. If I do, it causes conflict. I am able to do it, but I’m tired and wish I was cherished and he loved me enough to want to meet my needs. Do I literally just keep dying to self? Sometimes that’s fine because I really do want Jesus!!!! But sometimes it feels unfair….and like I’m unnoticed.

    1. Dying to Self,

      I’m so sorry that you are feeling unloved and neglected. That is an awful way to feel. I wish no spouse ever felt ignored and unimportant in a marriage. Thankfully, there are often things we can do on our end that can pour healing and life into a marriage. Sometimes, it is a matter of us looking at our own expectations or changing our thinking to line up more with God’s. Other times, there may be toxic thought patterns we hold onto that need to go because they are sabotaging the intimacy we want in our marriages. Sometimes, there are things on our husband’s side of the marriage that he will need to work on, too.

      Would you be interested in doing a spiritual check up with me, so I can get a better sense of where you are spiritually at this point and what is going on?

      Much love and a huge hug to you!

      1. Sorry I missed these questions yesterday. I answered some of them unknowingly in another reply. I’m classic type A, introvert. Organized, driver, clean, hard worker, …I love the outdoors, reading, beaches, coffee.
        He is more of a laid back extrovert. He has fun first and works if there is time. He balances my desire for a schedule.
        We both like to communicate and see eye to eye on most things. We don’t have a lot of great ideas for date nights since we are so opposite even in entertainment/recreation.
        I’m very content with small things– really to be happy I would like to fulfill His purpose for me. I’d love a healthy family and marriage where God is first place.
        Greatest fears– wasting my life, something happening to one of my kids
        Marriage– ease and fun! I’d like to mentor other couples some day
        Christ– more of Him, less of me
        Walk with Christ– I do spend each morning reading the Bible, praying, and journaling. I’m currently going through Ephesians. I make prayer a part of my all day, everyday life– praying for whatever/whoever comes to mind. He is currently showing me the cross! He’s showing me not to focus on my hubby or marriage, but to keep my gaze on him.
        Holding back– not sure. I try to live by the Holy Spirit and let Him lead my schedule/time/priorities….but don’t always carry that out. I’ve often used the excuse of my husband’s treatment of me to lash out snd dis-respect him. I see that no matter how he treats me or how I feel, I love Jesus and obey Him above that! I think I’ve believed that if I do that I’m showing him it’s okay or I don’t have any needs.

        1. Dying to self,

          Thank you for sharing this, that is helpful. I love what God is showing you! 🙂

          Would you be interested in sharing a typical conflict that you might have – in general – and we can hash through it together?

          Have you read any of my posts or my book about how to ask for things respectfully?

          Much love to you!

        2. April, I am responding to your post to me. Yes, I have been reading your posts for maybe 6 months.
          So we have agreed we want to use quieter tones in our home with eachother and kids. Last week he told me I was speaking loud to one of our kids and that was damaging. I asked for 5 minutes to cool down and then apologized to my son and hubby.
          Later that day, I felt like my husband was really going over board, toe to toe, with our oldest. I asked if we could lower the tone and invite Jesus into the conflict. He addressed me harshly and loud. My son was mad and hurt that night. I felt like my hubby exasperated him. I didn’t say anything, but fasted and prayed the next morning. He was leavin for a business trip and I softly asked if things were made right between him/son. He was very upset and intense and told me he just disciplined him. I encouraged him to make sure things were good in the event something happened while he was a way. He loudly climbed th stairs and loudly asked my son if they were okay. I knew my son felt like I do. You just agree to avoid further conflict.
          After his trip he took my son for wings and a game and told him he over disciplined.
          He never apologized to me.
          This repeated itself a few days later.
          Another conflict would be me feeling overwhelmed and asking if we can “talk through the weekend” or “talk through what needs to be done”. I feel frustrated because it feels like if I don’t lead, things won’t get done. I’ve tried letting things slide and letting him handle/not handle.
          He lets things go for a long time. I get frustrated with jobs not getting completed. I shut my mouth. But if conflict arises, I’ll go ahead and speak my mind at that point.
          For two days, I’ve lived in a place of surrender and realizing I’m responsible for my response!!! I don’t want to sin! Things have improved already. He was getting things done. I’m lowering my expectations. I’ve loved generously and not engaged in conflict.

          1. Dying to self,

            I’m so proud of you both for working on tone of voice and not raising your voices! That is awesome! And I am really proud of you for listening when your husband saw you were being really loud and that you took the time you needed to calm down and that you apologized. That was wonderful!

            If you feel like you need to address this kind of thing with your husband- if he is being too loud – is it possible to have a prearranged signal or to speak to him in private about it? That may help him be more receptive.

            I’m SO thankful that you fasted and prayed. I also love how you tried to approach him softly before his trip. And I am very proud of your husband for later apologizing to your son and for taking him out. That is great!

            What is your husband’s general personality?

            What was his relationship like with his dad?

            What was his parents’ relationship like?

            What kinds of things does he let go? Projects around the house? Chores? How do you approach him about these things?

            So you only tell him about your frustrations during tension and heated conflict?

            I love what you are seeing so far in such a short time already. That is awesome!

            Much love!
            April

  9. Fresh morning perspective–I definitely have places to surrender and dreams I’ve held on to. I’ve even had hopes of my husband changing in certain areas. I realize I have to let that all go….and let God change me, regardless. In times of conflict, I’ve yelled. I’ve name called. I’ve had selfish ambition. I’ve been easily angered. But, I’ve also been patient, long suffering, overlooked offenses, prayed, fasted, encouraged, and had hope!
    Practically, this morning, what does this look like in my marriage. My heart is right. But do I say “good morning” or let him pursue me and follow his leading. Can I ask him to help with house/kids/etc. or does denying self mean I close my mouth, put my head down, and do it all? Do I lead in family prayer/Bible or let those things drop until he picks them up?
    The other day, I put my hand on his hand, and he pulled it away. I am not bitter about it or unforgiving, but it seems he needs space. I do feel rejected.
    I want Jesus to be Lord of me and my marriage/home. But practically I am unsure what this looks like. I am scared of “serving to death” and being taken advantage of. Is this where I just trust that the Lord will meet my own needs no matter how much I lay down for my spouse/kids?

    1. Dying to self,

      I have a chapter on conflict in my book that may be helpful. Also, you are welcome to search my home page for things like:

      – conflict
      – lose my voice
      – fake
      – share my needs
      – can’t have needs

      Do you believe you are allowed to ask for help if you need it? How do you approach your husband when you are feeling resentful? What do you do with your resentment?

      Have you read any of my posts on expectations? Those may also be helpful.

      Much love to you!

  10. DYING TO SELF,
    I am so glad that this post has spoken to you! This post was one of the first posts I read from April that the Lord used to truly open my eyes!

    I hope to send you a word of encouragement as I see you are wondering how this is practically played out in our daily lives 🙂

    In my experience, the Lord is opening my eyes to the true meaning of His Cross and how is applies to my life on a daily basis, and what He has been showing me lately is that it is a matter of surrendering fully and absolutely to Jesus Christ as Lord of my life. When Christ is truly Lord over my life, I no longer say,do,think,want anything for my own personal interests to be satisfied. It is no longer, “What am I going to get out of this?”, now it is all about “What is the LORD going to get out of this?”—-it switches over from being all about ME, to all about THE LORD and what HE wants to do. This is not a list of rules or regulations.

    In order to truly follow Christ as LORD, we must be full of His Spirit and walking in the Spirit in order to have fellowship with Christ inwardly, and to know what He wants us to do in any situation. That is how Christ lived on the earth, abiding in the Father–never doing something because HE wanted to do it—-it was the Father doing the works THROUGH Jesus. In the same way, we are called to abide in Christ, so that it is “no longer I, but Christ”—– it is no longer us trying to do a million things “right”, but it is CHRIST, living through us by His Spirit which dwells in us!

    One of the principles of the Cross that the Lord has shown me is that The Cross means a selfless concern for what is of God alone. That means that my interests are no longer about myself—they are for the Name of the Lord and His Honor and Glory— my interests are what His interests are—– His interest is to have a dwelling place among men—- He wants to Presence this world in and by His Church, made up of individual believers having Christ dwelling in their hearts by His Spirit.

    The Cross working out in our lives can be practically expressed in the power we have been given by Christ to let go to God and surrender all things to His Lordship and His sovereign rule—-even our marriages! This HAS to touch home! The Testimony that JESUS CHRIST IS LORD MUST BEGIN IN OUR MARRIAGES AND HOMES!

    What the Lord is showing me lately is that if I want to be filled with Him, I have to “die daily”, as the Apostle Paul says! I must let go of my own rights! My own personal interests for my marriage, my child, my life—– My marriage, my child, my life— must all be for His interests—-for His purposes—- For His rights as Lord! It is no longer about what I want, it is about what HE wants in my life!

    It sounds to me like the Lord is already speaking to your heart sister 🙂 If you are sensing that your husband needs space, then perhaps that is what the Lord is showing you to do in this time. I know April has a lot of great posts about giving our men space that have helped me tremendously!

    And just one more thing—- the fact that you are worried about being taken advantage of shows that you still have personal interests here. You are “counting the cost” here by thinking about how letting go and truly letting Christ be LORD, will effect you. When we are focused on how things are going to effect us, instead of what the LORD wants to do in the situation—–we are still on natural ground of the flesh, and until the Cross is accepted and applied, we will not move forward in His plans and purposes!

    We have to let go of our own personal interests—-and allow the Cross to work out in our hearts and marriages! When I let go, and stopped counting the cost and how it would effect me to let my husband be who he is, things got SO MUCH BETTER! Not worse at all!!!! When we are so focused on the LORD’S INTERESTS over our own—— we are full of His Spirit and Life—– and it no longer matters what we are losing—— all that matters is that the LORD’S NAME IS BEING HONORED AND GLORIFIED!!! 🙂

    God bless you sister!

    Love,
    Amanda

    1. Amanda… I agree whole heartedly! We do have to have our eyes 100% on Christ and in obeying him. I know in some of our hard times when I felt unloved , I felt the Lord leading me just to pour out love anyways regardless if I got anything back. I still feel like that the Lord would have us to love our husbands unconditionally, and love is in deed and truth. ( after all Bible tells us to love our enemies, and do good to them who hurt us …. and our husband are definitely not our enemies ;). So I would look for ways that he would feel loved and do them. I worked extra hard on my respect and really I try to guard my Tongue.

      I have to say it is really amazing how the Lord is restoring our relationship. I can tell now that my husband loves me more than he ever has… thank you Lord!!

      Blessings! Mendy

      1. satisfiedwife, that’s so true! How can we be preoccupied with Christ and someone else at the same time? It is very easy for me to become solely focused on dh since we have gone through many trials and I have a tendency to want to control him and our environment . But when that slide happens and I slip into fear, control and anxiety, then my mind is not occupied on Christ.

        I agree with you also that if there is a major thing going on , then the most loving thing to do for Dh might be to confront or do some sort of boundary. IT just takes wisdom from God and to be walking in the Spirit.

        Blessings!
        Mendy

      2. This is so good! I am just beginning my journey and i am in the same space as the lady u are addressing. The “counting the cost” phase. Wondering if i submerge myself into this what i like to call “super submissive southern belle betty crocker” type mode or in short godly wife role, what benefits and dangers are there? Ive been told the same thing that we shouldn’t be looking at what we get out of it however i feel the need to be motivated by something good. Cmon this is some hard stuff!

        The the big reveal…

        FEAR!

        I fear so much being like women i know that give their all submissively to their man IN THE NAME OF THE LORD to not even be with that dude in the end. They gave all and trusted God to end up broken bitter and unsure if they were doing God’s will in the end. Of course there are positives that come out of any situation and usually all they end up grateful for is usually the kids and the many lessons of what not to do. Seems like the short end of the stick to me. Worst is the YEARS they will never get back…i get upset juat trying to fathom….lol

        I also fear extremes. This topic of dying to self is actually the last thing that caused my walk to stagger a bit or rather my misunderstanding of it to be exact. Dying to self translated into self hatred and caused me to feel that i had no value to God unless i was zealous about his ways. I was also upset because i craved so badly to see the supernatural like others i was surrounded by who claimed to have visions and could see angels. My brother in Christ at the time told me to just focus on Christ as you have said. But i couldn’t because i was more focused on what i wasnt getting which leads to my next point…

        I could not see my reward or rest in Christ. I still struggle and am being prayerful about it. If i had to wait 20+ years to see what i wish or what God promises would i be content in just having Christ? Truthfully my answer is no alot of times or i just get an anxiety attack just thinking about things.

        I also fear being walked over. With us being constantly exhorted to put others first, im in question like who is going to look out for my interest? What about fairness and justice for me? Hypothetical situation..i endure my husband talking any kind of way to me for a whole year and then maybe it takes one day for God to speak to him and all he has to do is repent then its juat all good. No pay for his wrong nothing.. Sometimes i feel like i am jonah. Im more concerned about justice how i see it instead of rejoicing in Gods grace for the other party.

        I feel that way about my husbands church too. Ms April is aware of my husband and i denominational difference. Im non denominational and he is from Church of Christ. We have been battling about which church to be at. I feel his group is a cult so i have no desire to join but i am required to respect and love them while learning to submit to him in other ways. Some say i am unsubmissive because i wont go. I do attend when we visit but often times i am cold and on defense due to their legalistic doctrine. It been hard separating the people from the dogma. I know i must love them but i want them to be corrected yet God wants me to show grace. Like jonah im like foreal THOSE ppl though?! You cant really support this?!

        I know that i have alot of mind renewing to get to and i have been trying to put in to practice taking my thoughts captive as i learn the truth. Its been kind of challenging. Sometimes i go days without speaking to God or reading my word. But it doesn’t go to long without me feeling convicted

  11. Just a Little Sheep,

    Another resource for wives who have been too passive or “too submissive” to their husbands and who are confused and spiritually very wounded is Nina Roesner’s ecourse “Becoming a Woman of Strength and Dignity.”

    1. When we are completely filled up with Christ and we are whole in Him, looking to Him for all of our purpose, contentment, joy, strength, peace, and for our acceptance, love, and security – THEN we can approach our other relationships from a position of great strength in Christ. Then we have the power of Jesus to help us pour out our own will and hold on to His will and we have the clear vision we need to discern exactly what it means to obey Him and we hear His voice clearly.

  12. Just a Little Sheep,

    Dealing with a sin/bondage problem looks a lot like this (brief summary):

    1. We have to see the problem.
    2. We identify the sin and the lies we may believe about God, ourselves, or something else.
    3. We consciously and purposely choose to reject the sin and lies and replace them with God’s truth. We take our thoughts captive.
    4. We purposely seek God wholeheartedly and submit ourselves completely to Him.
    5. We allow His Spirit to heal us and transform our thinking as we study His Word and memorize passages that speak to our situation.
    6. We invite His Spirit to completely fill us.
    7. We worship Him, praise and thank Him all throughout each day and focus on Phil. 4:8 kinds of things.
    8. We desire to know Him more and more and to allow Him to continue to show us anything He wants to change.

  13. April,
    I think you are right on in what you shared about this. And something else hit me as I read this comment. In my experience, because I was mistreated for so long, and suffered in that sense for getting involved with the wrong kinds of men, and not having a strong father figure in my life, I became completely self-reliant and independent, with a heart hardened to the harsh realities of life. And in being mistreated and developing that independent spirit, looking back I see actually how selfish I became. That sounds wrong, but hear me out if you can 🙂

    Because I was mistreated and grew up mistreated, and did not develop a healthy self-worth, and developed that desire in my heart to be loved and wanted and all those idols that are attached to that desire—-it actually made me self-centered. All I cared about was what I wanted, what I needed, what I wasn’t getting from this guy or my father or whoever. My husband pointed this out to me a long time ago, really right after we got married, he saw how selfish I was and how focused I was on having my needs met in the marriage. And because my needs and expectations weren’t getting met the way I wanted them (with the never ending black hole heart), I was disrespectful, complaining, negative, argumentative, controlling, etc.

    That’s what happens when we are mistreated in life, as a young woman, we become fearful and controlling because we feel the need to protect ourselves because we have not been treated right. We become independent and self-reliant.

    So when God led me to Himself, and revealed Christ in my heart—— that was one of the first things He showed me. He led me to read the book “Not a Fan”, and it was all about dying to self and following Christ. I remember how eye-opening that was for me, because my selfishness was exposed.

    And as the years have gone by, He has continued to lead me to the true meaning of dying to self and following Christ, by leading me to your blog, and to the book captivating— and now I see all the pieces put together to this puzzle for me.

    He has shown me that in reaction to the way I was mistreated by my own father and men in my life, my heart grew very cold and I became even more selfish. I was living in self-protection mode which entails controlling and fear for my whole life really. All I cared about was myself, honestly. I wanted what I wanted.

    I’m not saying it’s ok for anyone to treat someone wrongly. But what I am saying is that, I had an even more challenging time learning how to die to self because of being mistreated and having developed a very independent self-reliant spirit that was highly selfish. I looked at everything my husband did through the lens of my wounded, selfish heart, instead of through Christ and the Cross. I had no idea that my wounded heart was behind all of the control, fear, and disrespect. I didn’t realize that wounded heart was behind a lot of the conflicts in marriage. It was harder for me to “let go” of control and all the fear and self-protection and it was hard to learn to truly trust God and surrender all to Christ. But once He opened my eyes, holding onto those things seemed like garbage compared to surrendering all to Him as Lord and having His peace and rest in my heart!

    Now that I know who I am in Christ, and who my husband is in Christ, I have a hard time focusing on the things he does wrong. Letting go of myself and my own personal interests has been the way of finding true Life!

    I hope this makes sense?

    Love,
    Amanda

    1. I love this, Amanda! Yes, it makes total sense to me! 🙂

      I would love to share this in a post, actually, if that is okay with you. 🙂

      1. April,
        Lol as I wrote it, I remembered I told you I’d write something about this for PSG and was thinking the same thing! That is fine! I’ll send you the rest I worked on too! Thanks!

        Love,
        Amanda

    2. Wow. I really needed to read this today. I think this provides some explanation for what I’m dealing with with my husband. I mean I’ve thought about this stuff before, but you said it so succinctly. Totally makes sense….when you’re mistreated, which he was for so much of his life, you go into self-preservation mode and naturally become selfish and focused on your own needs and desires. So glad you posted this. Doesn’t make things any easier in my situation, but does provide a possible explanation.

  14. just a little sheep,

    Would you permit me to use some of this post anonymously in a post talking about ways dying to self can be misunderstood? I would be honored!

    Much love, my dear sister!

    April

    1. Sure, that would be fine. There are many ideas like that in Christian circles that not correctly understood, can be very damaging so by all means 😉 I’ve noticed when I talk to my husband that he has also picked up some of these ideas. For instance, if I want it, it is automatically wrong, not God’s will, of the flesh, etc, as if every desire, feeling or ambition is automatically sinful. Like some folks who think that whatever God’s will is for them, it will be something that they just hate and are sure will make them miserable. Looking forward to whatever you write on this .

      1. just a little sheep,

        Honestly, I think that almost every Christian concept, when misunderstood, can be dangerous. There is always a delicate balance needed. If we veer too far one way or the other, we get in a mess.

        That is another great point. Every desire is not wrong. For example, the desire to be married, the desire to eat food, the desire to have children, or the desire to have friends. These are good desires. It is how we approach these desires and whether we put them above Christ in our hearts that determines whether we handle them in a healthy, godly way or not.

        And the awesome thing about God is, as we yield to Him, He changes the desires of our hearts to match His own. So – if His will for me is ministry to wives, for example – He gives me His heart for wives. So – it is an incredible JOY to minister, not a drudgery or torture.

        Do you feel that the discussion we have had has gone deep enough – or do you feel we need to dig deeper?

        Much love!

    1. Would she like to comment here? I’d be glad to talk with her and seek to point her to Christ. 🙂

  15. So I’m on day 7 of asking the Lord to help me die to self. He’s shown me I’ve excused my sins toward my husband because I felt like I was justified. The Lord has helped me see that when I serve my husband, I’m serving the Lord. So I really can happily do those things. He has shown me that surrender/dying is actually a place of freedom/rest. Striving is out of the equation. I’ve made a list of my own sins as the Lord convicts me. I’m so grateful for His love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy. I’m more confident than ever that the Lord has my back and will take care of me ultimately. He meets my needs– not my husband or not myself. When I’m not looking out for myself, I have time/effort to meet needs around me.
    As a result, I feel like my hubby is actually following my lead….and looking out for me. He has listened to me from the heart and heard me! My kids are more peaceful because the tension in the air is gone.
    It’s only been a week.
    His word is powerful.
    I was stuck in a lie for so long thinking my hubby had to “die first” and I’d follow.
    Thankful!!

    1. DyingtoSElf,

      This is awesome!!!! WOOHOO! I think a lot of us as wives think we have to wait to grow spiritually until our husbands do. Not so!!!! I’m so glad that you were willing to go first and that you are seeing fruit already.

  16. NOTE:
    I do want to mention – this is something we each choose to do ourselves. It is not appropriate for me to demand that another believer needs to “die to self” to do what I want him/her to do. I can’t force others to obey God. I can set a godly example. I can ask for what I need and desire. I can share my insights and perspective. But I don’t get to control other people or dictate to them what they should do.

    My husband should be living wholeheartedly for Christ and leading and loving as Jesus did, laying down his life for me to portray the love of Christ. But it is not my place to say, “You need to die to yourself and do X, Y, and Z to lead me properly.” It is possible for me to try to manipulate my husband, or other believers, in this way, for my own selfish purposes.

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