If you scan the bookshelves in the self-help section of today’s bookstores, you’ll find hundreds of titles on living. Although there are a variety of differing approaches, the best advice can be summed up in this phrase, “You have to look out for yourself.”

But Jesus had a radically different view. He said that before you can really live, you have to die. He told the disciples, who were hoping for a plum spot in a new administration and who jockeyed for position in Jesus’ inner circle, that lowliness and humility were the keys to greatness.

This was the same theme echoed by the Apostle Paul. He said that he didn’t start living until he first experienced death — death to self. Now you’re not going to hear that repeated in too many bestsellers or on the lecture circuit, but that’s the path to true fulfillment in life. You see, before you can really experience the fullness of God’s blessings for you, you have to empty yourself of all your selfish ambition and pride.

It is our flesh that desires to seek our own gratification and to control our own destiny. But we know that the end is destruction. That’s why every day we must choose to yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit’s rule.

While the world may say that gratifying our flesh is the way to fulfillment, the real answer is to die — to ourselves. This is really living!

Spirit-filled souls are ablaze for God. They love with a love that glows. They believe with a faith that kindles. They serve with a devotion that consumes. They hate sin with a fierceness that burns. They rejoice with a joy that radiates. Love is perfected in the fire of God. — Samuel Chadwick

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder