I have been reading Studies in the Sermon on the Mount by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones and ran across this great quote from George Muller, Prussian-born 19th Century evangelist and champion for orphans in Bristol, England.
There was a day when I died, utterly died, died to George Muller and his opinions, preferences, tastes and will; died to the world; its approval or censure; died to the approval or blame of even my brethren and friends; and since then I have studied only to show myself approved unto God.
I need to substitute my name for George Muller’s. It is so hard to do this, but it is the call of discipleship. Jesus Himself said:
From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, "Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you." But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man."
Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it," (Matthew 16:21-25, ESV).
In order to have life, we must die. We must deny ourselves. We need to submit to Christ. It is then that we truly live.