We Must Die If We Want to Live

In Daily Devotional by A. W. Tozer

Theme of the Week: Sacrifice and Death

Bible Verse: “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 CSB

Scripture Reading: Galatians 2:15-21

Let me die—lest I die—only let me see Thy face.” That was the prayer of St. Augustine. “Hide not Thy face from me,” he cried in an agony of desire. “Oh! That I might repose on Thee. Oh! That Thou wouldst enter into my heart, and inebriate it, that I may not forget my ills, and embrace Thee, my sole good.”

To die that we might not die! There is no contradiction here, for there are before us two kinds of dying: a dying to be sought and a dying to be avoided at any cost. To Augustine, the sight of God inwardly enjoyed was life itself, and anything less than that was death.

Whatever hid God’s face from him must be taken out of the way, even his own self-love, his dearest ego, his most cherished treasures. So he prayed, “Let me die.”

The great saint’s daring prayer was heard and, as might be expected, was answered with a fullness of generosity characteristic of God. He died the kind of death to which Paul testified: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20).

There have been those who have thought that to get themselves out of the way, it was necessary to withdraw from society; so they denied all natural human relationships and went into the desert or the mountain or the hermit’s cell to fast and labor and struggle to mortify their flesh.

In every Christian’s heart, there is a cross and a throne, and the Christian is on the throne till he puts himself on the cross; if he refuses the cross, he remains on the throne.

We want to be saved, but we insist that Christ do all the dying. No cross for us, no dethronement, no dying. We remain king within the little kingdom of Mansoul and wear our tinsel crown with all the pride of a Caesar; but we doom ourselves to shadows and weakness and spiritual sterility.

If we will not die, then we must die, and that death will mean the forfeiture of many of those everlasting treasures which the saints have cherished. Our uncrucified flesh will rob us of purity of heart, Christlikeness of character, spiritual insight, fruitfulness; and more than all, it will hide from us the vision of God’s face, that vision which has been the light of earth and will be the completeness of heaven.


Taken from From the Grave: A 40-Day Lent Devotional, by A.W. Tozer, ©2017 The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago.
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About
A. W. Tozer
A. W. Tozer began his lifelong pursuit of God at the age of seventeen after hearing a street preacher in Akron, Ohio. A self-taught theologian, Tozer was a pastor, writer and editor whose powerful use of words continues to grip the intellect and stir the soul of today's reader. Among his best-loved books are the classics The Pursuit of God and Attributes Of God.
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A. W. Tozer
A. W. Tozer began his lifelong pursuit of God at the age of seventeen after hearing a street preacher in Akron, Ohio. A self-taught theologian, Tozer was a pastor, writer and editor whose powerful use of words continues to grip the intellect and stir the soul of today's reader. Among his best-loved books are the classics The Pursuit of God and Attributes Of God.