“Death first” was a statement made by Dr. Rob Reimer jokingly as he spoke at the Nyack College Deeper Life session on Tuesday night. And while the context in which he made the statement is different from the way I am about to use it, ” Death First” perfectly articulates what God has been doing in my life.
Since Brazil, and in the midst of the craziness that is new student orientation, plus the add/drop period for Nyack College andAlliance Theological Seminary, God has been talking to me about death. Yes, you read right, death. God is calling me to die, to deny myself and my pick up my cross and follow him daily ( Luke 9:23). He is challenging me to learn how to live my life as a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1-2); To be one who offers up her life to the Lord wholly, so that His will would be done in my life, here on earth, as it is in heaven.
As I tried to process and explain to my friends what God was doing in me, I was having real difficulty, until Dr. Reimer spoke on it during chapel at ATS.He helped me understand that what God was asking of me was completely normal and necessary.
Truth is, Jesus very much meant what He said when He called us to die to ourselves. And most of us live under the false assumption that we already do this. We think that because we stopped doing the things we use to, or have dealt with some of the heart issues in our lives, that we have learned to die.
But death to self goes deeper still. It is a realm of self-denial that forces us to love our enemies as ourselves. It is living in a place where, truly, it is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me (Galatians 2:20). It is surrendering ALL that we are, ALL that we have and allowing God to do whatever, however, whenever, with ALL of our lives. It is living a life that says, “God this is what I want, this is what I have, this is who I am, take all of it, consume it, and do with it all, what you will.” It is no longer making decisions and asking God to bless them, but truly asking; “God what is it that you want?” and walking under His leading.
And I have come to realize that unless we learn to live “Death First”, we are going to miss out on truly seeing God and His move here on this earth. Dr. Reimer touched on this while he spoke in our chapel. He mentioned that unless we live in this level of Holiness, we will not see God (Hebrews 12:14). We pray and plead with God for revival yet we are still the masters of our lives. We still live with division amongst us. We still live being offended and angry with one another. We still control our decisions and the things we do. We want to see God, without living wholly, Holy lives and that my friends will not work.
You want to see God? Choose ” Death first”. Choose to surrender all that you have and all that you are and let God have His perfect will done in you, as it is in heaven.
“We desire that God would give us the death-stroke; but we long to die without pain; we would die to our own will by the power of the will itself; we want to lose all and still hold all. Ah! what agony, what distress, when God has brought us to the end of our strength! We faint like a patient under a painful surgical operation. But the comparison is nought, for the object of the surgeon is to give us life — that of God to make us die.” François Fénelon, Spiritual Progress