How to Die to Yourself
by Adam Wittenberg
Focusing on yourself is easy. It’s what we all do, naturally.
This is part of our fallen nature. Instead of looking to God, we take matters into our own hands (Genesis 3:6).
Instead of trusting God, we do life in our own strength and understanding. Is it any wonder we feel the pain, rejection, and fear that we do (Romans 5:12)?
Christianity cures our self-focus by giving us something greater to focus on—God our Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ.
As we look to the Lord, who is love and light, we are filled with His presence (1 John 4:8; 1 John 1:5), and this is how we’re changed.
“We do not decrease the darkness in us by focusing on darkness,” says Mike Bickle, director of IHOPKC. “We change our focus to become preoccupied with gaining more of the light of the superior pleasure of revelation of God.”
Jesus Christ is God’s greatest revelation (Hebrews 1:1–4). He was born to a virgin 2,000 years ago, lived a sinless life, and died a criminal’s death on a cross to pay for our sins (Romans 6:23).
Three days later He rose from the grave, defeating sin and death (Romans 8:2). He now reigns in heaven and is coming again soon to rule the earth (Revelation 22:7).
Our calling is not to perfect ourselves, but to become like Him, the One who is perfect (Romans 8:28–29). The good news is God will help us if we come to Him in faith (Hebrews 11:6).
Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to everyone who follows Him (John 14:26). The Spirit “will teach you all things” and bring God’s Word to our hearts and minds.
We cannot change ourselves, but the Spirit will show us what changes to make and give us power to walk them out (2 Timothy 1:7). We are not in this alone!
Even the desire to be free from focusing on yourself is something the Holy Spirit will do, as you cry out to Him. Jesus said, “Ask, and you shall receive” (Matthew 7:8).
The word ask here can be translated “ask, and keep on asking,” suggesting we will need to do it continually.
You may also want to follow a daily prayer. For example: “Father, please help me take my eyes off of myself and put them on Your Son, Jesus. Holy Spirit, help me to see Him, know Him, and live more like Him. Give me grace to fall more in love with You.”
The Lord wants us to focus on Him, just like King David, who was fascinated with God’s beauty and expressed this fascination in his life vision: “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple” (Psalm 27:4).
Our God will help us take steps both big and small as we ask in prayer and obey what He says.
Spending more time in the Bible, prayer, and fasting are good ways to break the habit of self-focus. You can also ask a pastor, friend, or mentor to pray for you. Again, we turn our attention to the Lord, who is above our problems, weaknesses, and self—for it is He who perfects us.
In Christianity, we find our life by losing it (Mark 8:35). This sounds strange, but our freedom is found in surrender (John 3:30). We’re made to live with and for Him, and we won’t experience peace until we do (John 14:27).
Our life is truly found in the laying down.
“For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it” (Mark 8:36).
Accept Jesus’ invitation to lose your self-focus today, and find the life that only He can give!
Mike Bickle teaches on Living Fascinated in the Pleasure of Loving God, part of his series on 7 Commitments for Spiritual Growth
A Detroit native who was raised in Vermont and Connecticut, Adam worked as a newspaper journalist until 2012, when he moved to Kansas City to complete the Intro to IHOPKC internship. Afterwards, he earned a four-year certificate in House of Prayer Leadership from IHOPU and is now on full-time staff in the Marketing department at IHOPKC. He also serves in the NightWatch (overnight prayer hours) and is active in evangelism. He, and his wife Stephany, have a vision to reach people everywhere with the good news of Jesus Christ.