I die every day – I mean that brothers – just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~1 Corinthians 15:31 NIV
Paul was an educated man, a Jew of Jews. His sole ambition was to destroy the young faith of Christ’s followers. However, while in determined pursuit of Christ’s followers, Paul had a life altering experience that convinced him to give up his tormenting ways. He then became counted among the ones he used to seek out. Paul knew firsthand the opposition that he would face; he used to be one that opposed, now he faced death daily. Paul gave up his comfortable lifestyle for a life filled with risk. He risked death to bring the Gospel to others.
Paul was completely convinced that he would be resurrected, that is why he was willing to die daily. Great difficulties and angry mobs were a part of Paul’s life in Christ. He had fought with beasts (more angry mobs) at Ephesus (v. 32a), and was in danger of being torn apart by a furious crowd that had been provoked by Demetrius and the other artisans (Acts 19:24); he suffered beatings, stoning, imprisonment, a shipwreck (Acts 27:39-44), being worshiped as a god (Acts 14:8-18), false accusations and endless opposition.
Many of us will not experience angry mobs, ready to tear us apart, beat us, stone us or become imprisoned for our faith. Why? We live in a ‘Christian’ society. However, we may face accusations and opposition; we may be hated for our stand on issues that society deems acceptable. We may lack love in our walk with our fellow Christians and the broader, unsaved community. While others may be ‘worshiped’ because of their position in the church or community.
What does it mean to “die daily”? To you, dying daily may not look the same as it does to your friend, mentor or neighbor. For you, to die daily may be fasting a meal or fasting for an entire day. For them, it could be God calling them to giving up the constant connection of social media. Dying daily could be the fortitude of being who God created you to be and not worry about those who don’t like it, but loving them anyway.
Dying daily will look different from one person to another based on the call God has put on a person’s life. While your friends may not be called to walk the same path as you, that doesn’t lessen the need for you or them to prayerfully consider those things God has asked you to lay down, to die to. What is it you need to die to? Most likely it is something that draws your time and attention away from God and His Word.
If Paul had not been convinced of Christ resurrecting the dead, he would have every right to follow the lifestyle of some in Ephesus…“If the dead do not rise, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!’” (v. 32b).
- For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. ~Philippians 1:21-24
- …that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. ~Philippians 3:10, 11
- Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
- Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ~Hebrews 12:2
- Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulations, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” ~Romans 8:35, 36
- For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may manifest in our mortal flesh. ~2 Corinthians 4:11
- The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart- These, O God, You will not despise. ~Psalm 51:17
Are you living for yourself or for Christ?
What does it mean to ‘die daily’ in your life; how can you take steps to ‘die daily’?
Have you known an individual who actively ‘died daily’? What aspects of their life enticed you?
In what ways will ‘dying daily’ influence those around you?
What advantage is there to face such hardships if we do not have the assurance of resurrection?
Do you ever find yourself behaving as the Ephesians; ‘let me eat and drink for tomorrow I die’? Not caring or believing in Christ’s resurrection of His followers? If so why?
In non-Christian nations, there are people who live for Christ and die for their belief. Take a few moments research the 10/40 window; perhaps chose a nation and commit to praying for the Christians living there and for those who don’t know Christ to have a Saul/Paul moment.
Father God, thank You that I am no longer a slave to sin. I now know that tribulations, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril or sword will not separate me from the love of Christ Jesus. Show me where I need to die daily and strengthen me to lay down my selfish desires and need for carnal comforts, so that I may live fully in Christ. Let me lay down the comfortable for the risk of sharing the Gospel. When opposition, accusation, or any other form of persecution comes against me, I pray for Your wisdom and strength to guide me. In Jesus name, Amen.