Brianna Esswein died in December 2005 aged 25. She was an American missionary who had given her life to serve God. The following are her words found in the Discipleship Training School DTC journal:
"As a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies before it can bear fruit, I will die daily to my own wishes and desires. I will die to my dreams, to my thoughts and to my will. Through this death I will rise daily as well as to the life that is lived in and through Christ. His life will permeate through me every second.
I will lose my life here so that I may live the life that He has called me to, a life of both joy and suffering. I am willing to live and die for my Lord and will follow Him to the ends of the earth, knowing that it may cost me everything but that there is no greater joy than serving my God and only through Him can my life and my joy be made complete. I will be His bride".
When I first read the above entry, I felt challenged that one as young as Brianna had found a special friend in Jesus Christ and that she was willing to put down her life on a daily basis to serve her master. Although I questioned why one who was so committed had to die so young, I found comfort in Isaiah 57:1-'the righteous perish and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death'. Herein I was able to say that surely in Christ Jesus, to die is to gain. I also felt inspired to relate to Christ in the same way. But first I had to transform that which was on the inside in order that I would be in conformity with what Christ wanted. This would mean daily death to the self.
Romans 12:2 asks you not to conform to the pattern of this world but to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. This means that you are to be completely changed in thoughts and perceptions by replacing your existing attitudes with new ones. You then start to take on more of Christ-likeness and be less of who you are or who you were predisposed to be by the world. Philippians 2:5 instructs further that this entails that your attitude be like that of Jesus Christ.
Although Christ was deity, he gave up his rights and became man, He humbled himself, gave up heavenly pleasures for earthly pain, was born in a manger, was led like a sheep to the slaughter, allowed humanity to mock him was crucified on a cross between two thieves before he conquered death rose on the third day,. Christ gave up a lot for you, that you may live, therefore what you do should always be about him. If your focus is therefore about him, why are you so frustrated with life? Why is life about you when you should be giving up more of yourself to embrace his attributes? Is the spotlight more on you than on God? It is time to ask Jesus Christ to help you give up your rights; just like he did for us.
Firstly is to help you fix your attitude towards sin. Do you have little pleasures that you refuse to give up? It could be as simple as the music that you listen to, or it could be the juicy gossip that you cannot seem to get enough of. Whatever it is, you know that you gave your life to Christ at salvation and he must therefore have the rest of you, especially that bit that you have refused to let go of. How else will he help you renew your mind if you are not willing to let go of all these rights?
Secondly is to help you improve your attitude towards sinners. Christ loved and ate with the tax collectors; he bonded even with the prostitutes because he came for those that needed fixing. He had a burden for them, do you? You need more of Christ that he may teach you how to be tolerant and patient with those that are not like yourself; that you may be burdened enough to pray for and share the Gospel with them.
Thirdly is to help you change your attitude towards new believers. Are you, like the brother of the prodigal son, feeling unappreciated? Are you wondering why those around you are getting blessed yet you are being left behind? Are you wondering why your blessings have not come to pass? Remember that He is God and in the fullness of time, all that He intends for you will come to pass.
Do your attitudes therefore comply with those of Christ? Be honest about yourself, abide in Christ by spending time with the word; Hebrews 4:12-13 tells us how the word of the Lord is sharper than a sword, let it guide you. Let go of attitudes and actions that do not conform to Christ, ask him to search you and cleanse you as in Psalms 139:24. Finally tell him, "Lord Jesus, I need you more and I will die daily to my thoughts, desires and wishes and let you be, so that I may be more like you".
May these words (sermons), from various men and women of God be a blessing to all.
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