I was “born again” many years ago as a child. I understood what I was doing when I sat with my Sunday School Teacher with tears in my eyes and prayed a prayer asking Jesus to forgive me for my sins. I desired for the son of God who died for my sins to forgive me, live in my heart, and accept me as His child. That day long ago was the day of my salvation. That day I was forgiven and put in right standing with God.
The LORD has done many things in my heart over the years. I have heard the Holy Spirit speak to my heart. I have had prayers answered. I have known the presence of my Jesus as my comforter and strength. Yet, this month the LORD did a new thing in my heart. I feel as though I’ve been “born again” again. Why?
It’s all because I had a funeral. (I’ll get back to this in a bit)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (Gal. 5:22-26)
The last sentence of that passage stood out to me and I kept feeling convicted by: “Walk by the Spirit.”
What I felt so convicted by was that although I had the blessing of knowing Jesus, the blessing of hearing the Holy Spirit’s voice, I so often chose not to listen to His Spirit. If I want to be full of the fruit of the Spirit I have to be walking with HIM. I have to not only be listening but obeying HIS voice – not sometimes but all the time!
As I was praying on these things the LORD put before me a devotional in “Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers that contained the following warning:
“Beware of not going to the funeral of your own independence!”
That smacked me right in the face. That was it. That was all there was to it. Although I was a child of God I was not living as a new creation because I had not given up my own independence. I had not died to my old self/old nature. Refusal to deny myself was keeping me from being truly transformed and from living the Christian life the LORD was calling me to.
2 Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
I looked up the word “independence” in the dictionary and this is what it stated: “freedom from control of another; free from rule of another; self governing; self reliant.
I realized how much I was self governing rather than surrendering and trusting the LORD of the universe to govern me. I realized how foolish this was for in Isaiah 55:8 it reads “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.” His ways are so much higher than mine yet I was not releasing my grip on things. I was living independent of HIM way too often.
I sensed with great urgency that I was living so far below the level God was calling me to live as a follower of Jesus! I wanted to be completely transformed. I knew I had to have a funeral. I had to have a funeral for my own independence!
What follows is the the account of the funeral I had on June 18th. This was intense event. It was hard to see all that I saw in the casket but I needed to see it for what it was. I needed to see the darkness of the old nature. I needed to slam the casket closed! Thank you Jesus for meeting with me that night. Thank you for beginning a new work in my heart.
The Funeral for my Independence ~ The death of my old self
Copyright © by Joanna White ~ June 18, 2010
Tonight I am at a funeral.
I see in the casket my old, dead self.
What I see in the casket overwhelms me.
I grieve over the contents of the casket before me.
Inside it I see:
Selfishness, pride, disobedience,
irresponsibility, greed, and impatience.
I see anger. I see lack of control.
I hear critical words & unfulfilled promises.
I see messed up priorities & teachable moments lost.
I see time wasted, hugs missed, spirits crushed.
I see a half hearted help mate, a mediocre mom,
An insensitive sister, a detached daughter.
I see an eerie all consuming darkness; I see sin.
I see bondage. I see destruction.
I sense the presence of the powers of darkness.
I look away from the casket frightened by the evil before me.
There is an intensity in the air that I know is spiritual warfare.
After a few moments I cautiously look back.
I see the fingers of satan reaching out of the casket trying to grasp me.
I slam the casket closed.
I see his fingers crushed. I see the demons fall.
I feel his grip release.
he becomes nothing to me.
his power is obsolete.
his reign has ended.
I light a match.
The casket and dead bones inside are burned.
Nothing remains to be buried.
There will be no grave marker;
For I will not return here again.
The funeral has ended!
Now I am going to a party!