To die is gain?

Leading a devotion one night, my good friend Danny Cunningham pierced me with this thought: If you want to follow Christ, have you given any thought to where He is going? If you are taking up your cross, where do you think you are taking it?

Danny's answer was simple, yet I had never really considered it -- I am following Christ, cross on my back, to Calvary. The end of that road is death.

Oh, sure, we follow Christ to change people's lives, to show His love to a world in desperate need of it, to live with peace that we have the assurance of salvation and, in the end, an eternal life with Him in Heaven.

But the inescapable fact of our decision to follow Christ is that we must be willing to die. No, not a physical death -- although that was and is the fate of literally millions who made that decision; thank God we live in a country where physical death is not a threat for our Christian convictions ... at least not yet. Instead, we're talking about a spiritual death, a willingness to attend our own "white funeral," as Oswald Chambers puts it. This death is required, you see, for it follows that a decision for Jesus is a decision to put on a sacrificial altar our carnal lives. A tree must be pruned, a painful yet neccessary process to achieve full growth ... for us, this is called sanctification. How can I be sanctified if I am not willing to die to myself?

Aw, phooney. I can't do this topic justice. Danny does, and so does Oswald Chambers. Indeed, Chambers' entry for January 15th in "My Utmost for His Highest" is about this very topic ... so read it here.