In my opinion, the ultimate privilege a person has in this life is the opportunity to experience and enjoy God’s presence. Sadly, many people reject this privilege and reject God Himself. Just as sadly many born again Christians do not fully enjoy being a Child of God. By what measure, to what degree, and what depth of relationship do find ourselves satisfied with our position in the family of God and park there. Many times religion is a deterrent to developing a personal, intimate, conversational relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We can also be side tracked by the performance required to support our religious preference. In fact, performing for God can be a deterrent to developing relationship with God and result in frustration, disappointment, and eventually burn out if not corrected. Gerri and I traveled this road and suffered the consequences. We sincerely hope you won’t make the same mistakes we did. You see, our woundedness, our love hunger, our need for approval and acceptance set us up for the trap of performance for God and the approval of man. It was only after we crashed and burned that we realized there must be more to our Christian walk than this. Religion was glad to use us and the people around us who did little or nothing in the way of service were glad to cheer us on which is what we needed to keep going toward our self-destruction.   Our children suffered greatly because of our need to be needed. They were sacrificed on the altar of performance for God. This is religion at its finest!

No one ever told us we should develop our own personal, intimate, conversational relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit first, and out of that relationship would flow our service to and for God and lead us to fulfilling the purpose and destiny that is uniquely and individually ours by Father’s design. Our love relationship with God empowers righteous service for Him. Where duty and obligation can bring destruction, God’s love can bring rich reward and righteous service.

Now as born again Children of God to what degree are we willing to become Children of God? I Corinthians 5:15 says that as Christians we should no longer live for ourselves but we should live for Him Who died for us! Individually, how much are we willing to die to self, give up control of our lives to God and let Him drive our bus? Are there areas of our life we hold back to maintain control of? Out of fear we refuse to release ourselves completely and trust Him to do right by us. Our greatest reward and privilege in this life comes when we are totally yielded to and immersed in God and His presence in and upon us to the point of overflowing. As God’s kids we should be unique in the human family; different from the norm. Empowered by the Holy Spirit we should change the atmosphere in the secular world around us as we carry the presence of God everywhere we go. Be careful here. I am not alluding to pride and arrogance. These are not Godly attributes, they belong to satan himself. Actually experiencing Father’s love produces humility not pride. His loving presence is a treasure beyond measure, not a burden.

Now is there any time or circumstance in your life when God’s presence is a threat, a burden or something unwanted? If there is, you have identified an area of your life that is not surrendered to Him, an area where you maintain control. This is idolatry. In my mind, withholding anything from God is sin against our relationship with Him and self-defeating. Victory comes in total surrender. When self is dead we find ultimate victory of life in God Himself. So to what degree are we dead to self? As someone once asked to Gerri and I, “Are you dead yet?” We thought we were, but we weren’t. Holy Spirit is faithful to continue to reveal areas where self still struggles for life. A recent revelation of this truth came when Holy Spirit revealed that our dissatisfaction and complaining about Father’s current provision for us is evidence that self is not dead yet. Of course, this prompted immediate repentance on our part and an immediate change in attitude. Dissatisfaction and complaining gave way to being grateful and thankful for our current provision and for the revelation and loving correction we received.

In all of this consideration I hope to convey and remind all of us that our process of dying to self is probably not over. We should be willing to humble ourselves completely and with deep desire live victoriously in God’s presence at all times. Whenever and wherever self has control, we lose. Every area of our lives where God has control, we win. His presence is our reward and our victory! Living in the glory of His love brings Heaven to earth! Dying to self is not loss; it is the ultimate gain, the ultimate victory for a Child of the Most High God! Are you dead yet?