The concept of dying daily.

Unless a Christian is prepared and willing to die on a daily basis, he or she is not a true Christian. This is the fundamental reality of true Christianity, whose origin is new life in Jesus. This was, particularly, reiterated to Nicodemus, who was one of the senior clergies, in the Jewish religion. He had come to Jesus by night, due to fear of death, as changing one’s stable datum, is tantamount to dying. This is a reality in Christianity. The initial death of a Christian takes place on a day that he or she becomes converted into Christianity.

A person would have, all along, been stuck on what sustained his or her survival. What sustains a person’s survival is what he believes to be true. If the datum that there is no God had always sustained a person’s life, everything will be acceptable in his surroundings. But, then comes a time when the person becomes convinced that God exists, after all. What could he do under those circumstances? Everything that had, all along, sustained his security, suddenly crumbles—living him feeling vulnerable. Basically, this is what describes death, which is a failure, succumbing, or giving up on what sustains a person’s survival.

We feel secure, only when what we believe sustains our belief system. That is our stable datum of survival. We, however, feel threatened when that stable datum becomes shaken at some point. This is the point where many Christians miss it. Failing to grow from what made sense at the time of conversion is anathema to true Christianity. Unless a Christian is willing to die, even on a daily basis, no matter the comfort enjoyed, he loses out, on Christian promises. This is what Paul implied, on his letter to the Corinthians:

 I face death every day—yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord.  If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’ Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’ Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:31-34) (NIV).

Death is understood in the context of perishing physically. But, a surviving person is the one able to control his circumstances. The fear of dying is sustained in not desiring to shake the stable datum of the person concerned. You have always believed that money is everything to do with your life. Then all of a sudden that money is gone, living you with debts that need to be settled.

Such an experience has caused some people to commit suicide. Or succumbing to street begging or mental illness. Generally, fear comes from insecurity, derived from holding on to the things of physical nature. Truth is truth, only when coming from God. There are so many things that we have held as real when the opposite would be true. Security in Jesus requires dying daily. God does not reveal all truths at once, to those choosing to follow Jesus.

What Did Paul Mean When He Said, “I Die Daily”?

After receiving the shock of his life, everything a person would have held as truth has to be discarded. It is only the arrogant who assume being right at all times. This makes a person unable to examine any data that disagrees with his belief system. Christianity requires open-mindedness—being willing to change and adopt new understanding, like the Bereans (Acts 17:10-12). It is not about what anyone says, but what Christ says in His word.

The principle of denominationalism is sustained in the inability to examine data when assumed as disturbing the current position. Some twenty years ago, a group of believers had been sustained under the global Christian organization called Worldwide Church of God, founded by Herbert W Armstrong. That organization came to an end, after the death of Herbert Armstrong. The new leadership spotted things that needed changing. The membership splintered to pursue different denominational lines.

The majority of those believers fell out of conviction to Christianity. Others continue to cling onto what they assume to be the truth, but unwilling to examine anything outside their dogma. They fear terrible experiences of what happened to the Worldwide Church of God. In that condition, those believers remain vulnerable. They assume being secure in their cocoons, but unable to realize their vulnerability in those conditions. Regardless of how comfortable, as long as unwilling to open up for possibilities of new understanding, they are vulnerable. The Apostle John says there is no fear in love:

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister” 1 John 4:18-21).

For instance, there are Christians who peddle information about there being a thing called Satanism. Some Christian religious groupings, actually, preach against Satanism and advise their congregants to avoid such myths. I understand them. But John says there is no fear in love. Which one is more powerful between Satanism and Christianity? Or, rather, which one of the two, should fear the other? Jesus said His followers would drive out demons in His name.

“And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name, they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” (Mark 16:17-18).

I suppose those preachers would be advising their followers, who would not, necessarily, be Christians. True Christians are not scared of anything. This is why they are willing to, even, die daily. For instance, the above Scripture highlights speaking in tongues. The person might have all along not believed in speaking in tongues. But he gets confronted by someone believing in speaking in tongues, showing him the above scriptural reference.

That believer might be scared of death, thereby, ignoring that Scripture, as if it doesn’t exist. This explains what typically happens in Christianity. The person simply says, “Well, this does not agree with my Church doctrine.” One may try to pursue the discussion further, asking whether his denomination believes in what Jesus taught. Unfortunately, that would be inviting enmity between you and that person. The truth is that the person would not be prepared to die.

Shifting from what the person believes is as good as accepting death. Only the true Christians are willing to die, for anything viewed as true, like Paul. The rest prefer remaining in their comfort zones. They are scared of moving away from their doctrinal positions. That alone, makes them alienated with the person who would have confronted them with the new data. Such Christians are different from those sustained by what the apostle John said:

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister” 1 John 4:18-21).

John says if one loves God, he also loves his brother. Here is a brother who would have shown the person something that he would have, all along, misunderstood. Instead of engaging that person, in order to learn more, the person decides to alienate himself against him. After all, the person would have been instructed to be careful of those not in agreement with that particular Church’s doctrinal position. Those leaders would have served only to instill fear in the believers.

Nothing else keeps Christians apart, except denominationalism. When examining literature from one denomination to another, one discovers that each holds to some truth, which would be misunderstood, elsewhere. But at the same time, the same denomination would be unwilling to accommodate anything new to them, as well. Christ never intended that His church should be divided, according to doctrinal viewpoints. This phenomenon explains the origin of denominationalism.

Each group is scared of dying—hence taking comfort in denominationalism. Certainly, it feels good to belong to a group, sustained by a particular doctrine. But, unless one becomes willing to come out of a group mentality, it cannot be possible to please God. A person is baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. This has got nothing to do with the denomination, under which the person is baptized.

For instance, if Ananias of Damascus helped Paul to have his eyes opened, that did not mean Paul was to be a follower of Anania. In Biblical account, there are no further activities by a person as important as having been involved in Paul’s conversion. This is not to degrade Ananias, but that we should not focus our attention on individuals but on Christ.

When clear of that; like Paul, the person becomes willing to die daily. The work of a Christian is not only to preach the gospel. But to also keep one’s mind open to new teachings of Christ, who does not, necessarily, provide all the information, at conversion. A true Christian is also poor in spirit. In other words, in a true Christian, you have a person who is willing to learn and unlearn things. I suppose Christ does it deliberately, in order to keep us in humility.

The idea of unwillingness to die comes from arrogance. But, if Christ is to purify an individual, arrogance is one of those iniquities He deals with, in this manner. No-one can become God’s Son unless willing to die so that the new can take over. There is nowhere in the Scriptures where Christ said a Christian would have it easy in this life. The Christian journey is turbulent but very interesting. Because learning continues up to the point of a person’s demise. What is required is the willingness to die, on a daily basis.

“You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich, and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness, and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.  Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Revelation 3:17-21) (NIV).

Death is unacceptable, only to those of this world. But highly acceptable to those accepting the significance of conversion. Such people are not guided by fear when making decisions according to their calling. They are God’s children, having overcome death, through the principle of following Jesus. They are willing to walk towards the gallows, just as Shadrach Meshach and Abednego were willing to be cast into the burning fiery furnace. Nothing intimidates them.

 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me” (Philippians 1:21-26) (NIV).

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.

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