Maximilian Kolbe is a brave Catholic Priest imprisoned in a German concentration camp, and the video above is a short film of the sacrificing of his life for a prisoner with a wife and family. Giving your life for another does not make a Saint of you, Sainthood is much more complicated than that. Nonetheless, the sacrifice Maximilian Kilbe made is the sacrifice every believer ought to be ready and willing to make every day of life, and by dying to self daily we are able to do great things.
Dying to self is a mystical phrase. It is not in the Bible. It is close kin to a phrase borrowed from the requirement Christ places upon all true disciples saying: "IF ANY MAN WILLL COME AFTER ME, LET HIM DENY HIMSELF, AND TAKE UP HIS CROSS AND FOLLOW ME." (St. Matthew 16:24)
Christ preached what he lived. He like John the Baptist owned the clothing on his back. The natural consequence of becoming A WAYFARING MAN (Isaiah 35:8) is suffering. The wayfaring man hungers and thirsts, is exposed to cold and heat and storms and is persecuted for openly professing the Word of God.
Saint Paul wrote about it in this Light as a wayfaring man. "For we preach not ourselves,
but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who
commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the Light
of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure
in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of god, and not of us. We are
troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted,
but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; ALWAYS BEARING ABOUT IN THE BODY THE
DYING OF THE LORD JESUS, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the Life also of Jesus
might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death works in us, (the apostles), but life
in you (the Church). (2 Corinthians Ch4:V5:12)
The apostles bore about in their bodies "THE DYING OF THE LORD JESUS." The Church grows at a much smaller pace picking and choosing what to obey from the vastness of holy Scripture. Many do not grow at all, thinking themselves just fine while in many cases they grow worse as the years move on in gross neglect to their real condition. In the above video Peter denied Christ three times at the very crucial time of his being judged an evildoer by religious leaders when he was needed the most.
To this very day believers are guilty of denying Christ in many different ways. It is not Christ we are to deny. It is the fears and lusts of the flesh.
Self denial in the way Christ offers discipleship is a lifestyle that produces results if every condition of obedience unto God is fully met. This is a big order, so, many choose neglect as their path in a church system plagued with almost a complete lack of accountability one to another from the pastors on down to the least of the congregations. There is also a willful state of ignorance in the churches regarding true discipleship and how to attain to its calling. Religious leaders jealously keep all who come inside their houses of religion for themselves rather than for the gospel, not having earned their comfortable leadership positions by the bearing of the cross of Christ; they find it intolerable that someone might take up the true cross and obtain more Light than they are supposed to possess.
Every religion offers self denial as a life style. Hindu mystics, Buddhist monks, Hare Krisna's and some Muslims are seen pictured in periodicals slashing themselves with knives. All practice some form of self denial. Some religious hermits have locked themselves up from the world for years to avoid its pollutions. Those types are often puffed up with pride overe their supposed attainment thinking themselves pure when we are told in the Word of God, "THE HEART IS DECEITFUL AND DESPERATELY WICKED, WHO CAN KNOW IT?"
By isolation alone you cannot put on the new creature in Christ. Those rare individuals who attain to the calling of true discipleship walk in the poverty of Christ separated from all worldliness and all their kin to draw closer daily by the cross to God in his Spirit. We are to interact with the world but to not be part of its entanglements.
Self denial within the teachings of one of the many counterfeit religions Satan has produced in the world is a dead end street. The practitioners may draw closer to demonic spirits, but not to the Spirit of the Living God. Only the God of the holy Bible provides the Spirit of increasing sanctification to obedient followers. Jesus said: "NO MAN COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME." He is the door not only of salvation but of spiritual perfection.
The believer in Jesus Christ comes to the realization Christ is the Son of God, sent as the sacrificial Lamb for our sins; accepts him as Savior, seeks and obtains the baptism of the holy Ghost and must DENY HIMSELF to be obedient to the Word of God. The Word of God cannot be obeyed in part nor in its fullness without SELF DENIAL. Self denial is much easier to understand than "dying to self." Anytime a phrase outside of the Bible is used to describe what is inside the Bible, confusion follows.
Let's consider the passive command to ABSTAIN FROM FLESHY LUSTS. Your duty as a follower of God's teachings is to identify your fleshy lusts such as lusting for beautiful women, flirting, lusting for drugs, lusting for material possessions, lusting for power, and many other lusts of the flesh that quench the Spirit of God from working in us. Abstaining from such lusts weakens their influence over our mind and emotions. By TOTAL SELF DENIAL we enable the Spirit in us to grow up into Christ and to gain dominion over the flesh altogether. "THE FLESH LUSTS AGAINST THE SPIRIT, AND THE SPIRIT LUSTS AGAINST THE FLESH: AND THESE ARE CONTRARY THE ONE TO THE OTHER:" (From Galatians 5:17) But those who do not enter into a life of TOTAL SELF DENIAL, risk their flesh gaining dominion over them in many things.
A true disciple imitates the life and virtues of Christ daily as a living sacrifice denying themselves the comforts and securities of this world, gradually bringing forth the new creature in Christ in themselves. They are to DENY THEMSELVES all ambitions of worldly glory and financial profit while serving one Master for the purpose of becoming more like him every day. There is a lot of talk about winning the world for God, but the disciple is about the business of overcoming himself for God. They are running the race before them to store up treasures in heaven while worldly minded Christians are storing up treasures upon the earth.
There are many precepts in the Bible on how to walk godly, talk godly, see and hear godly, pray, praise and preach godly, give godly, think godly, act godly. There is plenty of wise counsel in the Word of God for you to find something godly to build into your life.
One of the many sins in the Church in America is gluttony. The virtue of being "TEMPERATE IN ALL THINGS" is becoming more and more neglected by Christians and sinners alike. Lusting for food and treats is apparently not seen as sinful by many American Christians who have a habit of going to restaurants to fellowship. It is a seemingly innocent tradition that could be replaced with gatherings to hold witnessing signs while there is yet no law against fellowshipping under such conditions.
ANYTHING CONTROLLING YOU IS USUALLY SIN. The Word of God is intended to provide you with the truth necessary to set you free from your flesh so you can become "A VESSEL SUITABLE FOR THE MASTER'S USE." As long as you participate only in part or not at all in SELF DENIAL, you are not suitable for the Master's use.
As long as you are lustful for any kind of food or treats, demons can whisper temptations to your consciousness whether it be a hamburger and fries, donuts, a milkshake, a bag of crunchy chips or how about a cup of exquisite Starbucks coffee? Sound good to you? If you can be led by demon spirits then you are not led by the Holy Spirit.
When you see an overweight Christian, they are not fully abstaining from fleshy lusts. There is a leak in their supposed spirituality. The prophet Eli was extremely overweight. A sure sign of a leak in his spirituality. If there's one leak, there probably is another. The Biblical record confirms it. He allowed his sons to abuse his office of High Priest wickedly in Israel. The Israelites lost a major battle against their enemies under his leadership. A sign of God's displeasure with his fleshiness and when he heard the report, he fell off of the wall he sat on and his weight killed him.
It's an either or Gospel. Flesh or Spirit. It's also an up to you Gospel. Gold gives the entire Bible to us in passive commands telling us what we must do to advance spiritually but not forcing us.
You will either DENY YOURSELF and do every command or you will be found catering to something fleshy in your life. If you fall short on one point of the law you fall short of it all. (St. James) The law is perfect. We must do it all perfectly in Christ as he did virtuously. We cannot fulfill the perfect law in our own strength. It's a tremendous challenge. That is why so few have attained to the calling to live their lives set apart unto God.
God may have accepted you into the body of Christ as you are, but he never intended
for you to remain unchanged. Get rid of everything controlling you. Make room for God to
live in you.