I have been hard pressed on all sides lately. Since early Novemeber, I have been met with one challenge after another. Whether it’s been work, family, my marriage, finances, relationships, this time of year, or any combination thereof, this has been a tough couple of months. I have begun to realize that it has not been those “things” necessarily, but more so about how my heart has been toward those things.
A theme has been developing in my life recently and Jesus has been very intentional in taking me to a place in my heart of deep deep woundedness while revealing my profound deeper ways of coping and masking the pain that comes with those wounds. Here at E6, we adopted term called “posing” from Ransomed Heart, which simply means to live in a false-self outside of who you were intended to be, which is born out of a single wound or a series of wounds. Regardless of the wounding, the false-self or “poser” is what most people create in order to make life work for them. Because to often the pain associated with the wounding gets stuffed or covered, the result is to live as the poser and never allow anyone to see who you really are. I became a master at doing so starting at the age of 15.
The theme Jesus has been speaking to me about has been what he said to me this past October. He said, “Zac, you don’t know how to love. You have never really known how to love. You have lived your life in such a way as to receive love, not to love.” When Jesus spoke those words to my spirit, I knew exactly what he meant. When I was 15, my parents divorced. I remember my dad coming home the day the divorce was final and crying, literally wailing in agony. I had never ever heard my dad cry, not once until that day. That was the first time in my life I heard true pain in loss. I made a solemn vow that day as I sat on my bed in my room. I said, “I will never let this situation define me or use it as an excuse to hinder my life.”
What has been revealed to me since October is the truth of what I did with that vow and how that vow was the beginning of the poser in my life. What I began to do was learn how to do whatever it took to be loved. I have spent a lifetime discovering what individual people liked and even loved about me and I would remember and be whatever the “that” was to them, just to receive their love or admiration. I became so very good at doing this. Truthfully, it helped me become very successful in life, as worldly success is defined, but it is an absolutely exhausting way to live. Now, I could not have told you until recently that I have been posing in so many areas of my life, but I do know now after a couple of years of reflection that I was living a poser led life.
I was not always 100% of the time doing this, but much of the the time I was. There have been many times I have done loving things for someone with a pure heart and out of love, but this underlying posing was always present. I have a long history of moving on from relationships once I was discovered to be a poser. Whenever someone, be it a girlfriend or close friend started to not like particular things about me, if I could not figure out how to be that to them, then I would jump out of that relationship before they could leave me. That stems from abandonment when my mom left at 14, but it is very much tied to simply wanting to be loved. My poor wife has had to live with this for far to long. Thank goodness she has loved me despite myself and shown me what real love looks like. So what has Jesus been up to with me regarding this theme in my story?
First, Jesus has exposed the poser in me over the course of the last couple of years. He has slowly and consistently been speaking to my heart in this area. He has been calling me to die to self and learn to love his way, selflessly. In all transparency, this has been the most challenging and painful time of spiritual and emotional growth in my life, mostly because I can’t go back to posing even though I want to at times. It now hurts more when I catch myself starting to pose than to go through the process of becoming who he wants me to be, my true-self. Which is ironic, because my whole life I have fought to hide the real me, but now I want the real me in Christ to be more and more revealed. The hardest part is fighting through the shame of so much lost to a poser led life, but I know there is far more freedom in who I am meant to be.
Jesus talked a lot about death bringing life during his time here on earth. He spoke about death being a catalyst for life and growth, such as the parable of the single grain of wheat (John 12:24) or when he discussed how his own death would bring life throughout the Gospels.
We are currently in the Christmas season and what better example than what Jesus did for us to explore how death brings life. Jesus came to earth as a human baby. He willingly came from eternity into a finite body. He chose to be defined by space and time. The very second a human is conceived, they begin the life long process of dying. The Eternal One came to earth and immediately began to die and for the purpose of dying?! Wrap your mind around that and let that sink in for a minute. Jesus had an intentionality to teach us about how believing in him and his death would bring us life, eternally. No other person in human history has ever been able to make that claim, let alone fulfill it or live it out.
To follow Jesus is to die to self, there is no other way to life. Living for Jesus calls us to die to all kinds of things. For me, dying to self is intentionally allowing my false-self to die and my true-self to live. No one said the Christian life was easy, and it certainly has not been for me recently. Jesus himself said the road was narrow, but the narrow road is exactly what makes it so worth living. I don’t have to do all the things the world says I have to in order to live. At the end of the narrow road is life, the life we were meant to live and can live now, if we are willing to die to self. Paul said it best in Philipians 1:21, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Dying to self is truth, and so often my false-self shouts to me, “What about me, what about what I want, what about what I need?” My true-self responds, “What about it, wouldn’t you rather have life?” I would and I do.
Each day requires a choice, not an easy choice, but nonetheless a choice. Do you want to die to self in order to live, or do you want to live for self and die with no life? You always have that choice in front of you each day. Personally, I believe dying to self is only possible by surrendering your life to Jesus, daily. So when I ask, Die to self, Really? For me, the answer is Yes, if I really want to live.
Let me share this portion of Ransomed Heart’s Daily Prayer to help you see how the death of Jesus will lead you to life:
Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me and choosing me before you made the world. You are my true Father—my creator, redeemer, sustainer, and the true end of all things, including my life. I love you, I trust you, I worship you. I give myself over to you, Father, to be one with you in everything as Jesus is one with you. Thank you for proving your love by sending Jesus; I receive him and all his life and all his work which you ordained for me. Thank you for including me in Christ, for forgiving me my sins, for granting me his righteousness, for making me complete in him. Thank you for making me alive with Christ, raising me with him, seating me with him at your right hand, establishing me in his authority, and anointing me with your love, your Spirit, and your kingdom. I receive it with thanks and give it total claim to my spirit, soul, and body, my heart, mind, and will. I bring the life and work of the Lord Jesus Christ over my life today, over my home, my family, my household, throughout my kingdom and domain.
Jesus, thank you for coming to ransom me with your own life. I love you, I worship you, I give myself over to you to be one with you in all things—spirit, soul, and body, heart, mind, and will. I sincerely receive all the work and triumph in your cross, death, blood, and sacrifice, through which my every sin is atoned for, I am ransomed and delivered from the kingdom of darkness and transferred to your kingdom, my sin nature is removed, my heart is circumcised unto God, and every claim being made against me is disarmed this day. I now take my place in your cross and death, dying with you to sin, to my flesh, to this world, to the evil one and his kingdom. I take up the cross and crucify my flesh with all its pride, arrogance, unbelief, and idolatry. I put off the old man. Apply to me all the work in your cross, death, blood, and sacrifice. I receive it with thanks and give it total claim to my spirit, soul, and body, my heart, mind, and will.
I bring the blood and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ over my life today, over my home, my family, my household, my vehicles, finances, over all my kingdom and domain. I bring the cross, death, blood, and sacrifice of Jesus Christ against Satan, against his kingdom, against every foul and unclean spirit, every foul power and black art, against every witch, and against every human being and their spirit, their warfare and household. I bring the cross, death, blood, and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ to the borders of my kingdom and domain, and I stake it there in the name of Jesus Christ.
Jesus, I also sincerely receive you as my Life, and I receive all the work and triumph in your resurrection, through which you have conquered sin, death, judgment, and the evil one. Death has no power over you, nor does any foul thing. And I have been raised with you to a new life, to live your life—dead to sin and alive to God. I take my place now in your resurrection and in your life, and I give my life to you to live your life. I am saved by your life. I reign in life through your life. I receive your hope, love, faith, joy, your goodness, trueness, wisdom, power, and strength. Apply to me all the work and triumph in your resurrection; I receive it with thanks and I give it total claim to my spirit, soul, and body, my heart, mind, and will.
I bring the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ over my life today, over my home, my family, my household, my vehicles, finances, over all my kingdom and domain. I bring the resurrection and the empty tomb of Jesus Christ against Satan, against his kingdom, against every foul and unclean spirit, every foul power and black art, against every witch, and against every human being and their spirit, their warfare, and household. I bring the resurrection and the empty tomb of the Lord Jesus Christ to the borders of my kingdom and domain, and I stake it there in Jesus’ name.