For those who are not “churched”, the concept of dying to self comes primarily from this verse. The idea that many have given is that you sacrifice your desires for the desires of Jesus. One simplistic way it has been put is Are you doing things “Man’s” way or “God’s” way? And if you are not following “God’s” way, then you in a nutshell are in sin
This concept has been pushed and popularized by Kyle Idleman who wrote a book called Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus. Now, I can’t comment on the book specifically, but I would like to discuss this verse and my personal troubles with how some have interpreted the verse.
It subtly suggests that we as humans don’t have values, ideas and thoughts. Only God does.
It really does minimize those who do not subscribe to the Christian faith. It assumes the “unbeliever” does not have morals, values, and opinions. And the “believer” does.
It also has the potential for some justification of unhealthy actions. I have seen and observed as have you, I’m sure, seen some justification of Christian actions that didn’t seem…. Christian.
It moves Christianity to a “cause” rather than a lifestyle that some Christians subscribe too. You might have heard the phrase “Cause for Christ”. Translating that means: What will you do for Jesus? Have you given your all for Jesus? And if you haven’t why not? Causing some to feel condemned about their lack of devotion to the Bible, question their prayer life, and whether they actually are a Christian.
The message given comes across as Man vs God as opposed to Man AND God. So for the language of this verse to come across as a complete Man vs God, seems in direct contrast to the very concepts of relationship. Specifically, some of the relationships outlined in the Bible. The Psalms speaks of a God that will give you the “desires of your heart”. God noted that man “should be alone”. God gave people a king in spite of the fact it was not the best decision at the time. Jesus also promised anything that you ask in my name… Surely this does not seem like a God that does not look at “Mans” way.
But what do you think of this? When you see a verse like this, what do you think?
Moreover, what does it look like to be “Completely Committed Follower of Christ?