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The late British pastor and theologian D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in his excellent work Studies in the Sermon on the Mount has this great quote from George Müller, a 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.

It’s a helpful exercise to substitute our name for Müller’s. 

There was a day when I died, utterly died, died to Shane Vander Hart 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 remind myself of this daily because most days I fail to live up to this. The guy I see in the mirror gets in the way, far too often.  

When I placed my faith in Christ I died.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me,” (Galatians 2:20, ESV).

And yet, I still need to die, daily. Jesus told his disciples that this is the cost of discipleship.

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it,” (Luke 9:23-24, ESV).

When we die to sin, when we deny ourselves, it is then when we truly live.

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