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Losing a life To Gain The Life
“Whosoever shall come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life will lose it; but whosoever will lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall find it.
For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Mark 8:34-37.
Before I was beautifully healed of multiple sicknesses and diseases, set free and delivered by the God of my Salvation on 3 October 2012, I was full of the Word of God for I spent hours each day reading and studying it. Every morning, without fail, I immersed myself in the Word, so I had much light in some areas, but darkness persisted in others, like the pimples that won’t go away. Messiah Yahshua, however, is the light that shineth in the darkness, and His Word is called light, also. In Psalms we read,
“For your Word is a light unto my path, and a lamp unto my feet.”
Because there were so many dark corners in my life, I had never been able to follow Jesus consistently for any great length of time. I would follow successfully for awhile, then fall back into the darkness that surrounds us. I was a part time Christian. Since 2008, when I began to study the Word of God with passion, I walked more consistently with the Lord, yet I wanted to do so on my own terms, as many do. I would walk in the light in the areas in which I wanted to walk, and in the darkness in others. To put it simply: Mostly, I walked according to the lusts and desires of my flesh, rather than being led by my spirit. In the tradition of men, I took the parts of the gospel that I wanted, and threw out the rest. Not that I did this on purpose, but that is the way walking in the flesh will lead, straight into the blind corners, not into the direct light.
Yet, as we know, the Word brings us light; the Word is the light-bringer. And I was stuck into the Word, glued to it with super glue, and the result was that I was gaining in truth, and coming around. But the process of the gains I was making was slow. As mama always said, I was slower than molasses in January, which was too slow for even for our patient and long suffering God, who had waited for 58 years to get me to this place and time.
Our salvation is so close, because the Lord Yahshua the Messiah, the one I'm here to open the door for, He is so close now that if you reach out, you can almost touch Him. This evil age is coming to an end. Sin is almost full meausure, so the Lord has picked up speed. He is moving faster and faster across this earth, and he’s not moving alone. He needs each of us to step into the ministry to which he called us, and he needed me to step into the ministry He called me to fulfil before I was even in the womb of my mother.
He needs His entire body. He, being the head, cannot work alone. He chose not to, and his Word testifies to this fact. Because God cannot lie, he will never contradict his own Word.
He chose before the foundation of the earth to work through each of us, members of his body. We are his hands, his feet, his ears, his eyes, his guts here on earth. He needs us to fulfil His great Commission, to carry the precious Word to the sleeping dead of the world, to gently shake awake those ones in the body who are sleeping, and to jolt to life those who are every bit as much the walking-dead as the world-dwellers are.
We are privileged to live in this End Times period, as we are witnessing God’s power as never before, and we are due to witness his power with even more stunning force. As the rebellion of this world reaches full measure, Yah's grace is being poured out in full measure. And believe me, sin ain't nuthin' compared to the mercy, the power, the anointing, the blessing, the might, the strength and the love of the Father--all this adds up to one thing: the day of YHWH's (Ya-ho-vah's) favour. For he tells us in I the book of Joel as well as in Acts that in the Last Days, he is pouring out his Spirit upon all flesh, and this is exactly what is happening even more stunningly than it did at the beginning of the Last Days, or Church age.
We, his church, are here for a shared purpose. We are here to teach the gospel to the nations, the same exact astounding gospelYahshua taught, not a different one, or even a partial one, but the electrifying powerful, life-changing gospel, the kiss of righteousness and peace(Shalom) that’s taught in the Bible.
Now, in order to do this, to fulfil the Great Commission, are you ready to pay the price?
I will say it again in a different way because I so need to get this fact across to each one of you, in the same way God got it across to me: As the head,Yasha simply cannot work alone. He needs us. We are his body of many members, each one of us functioning differently, yet part of a whole.
Are you ready to pay the price?
My function within the body is to preach and teach the pure uncompromised Word of God no matter what the cost. But there was a glaring problem. I had never died to Self. I didn’t even recognise that this was a necessity, and even if I had, I wouldn’t have known how to do it. So during the intense teaching and training period following October 2012, the Lord God, in an accelerated fashion, has taught me how to die to Self. And he has done so for this reason: so that I follow him and preach and teach without considering the cost. I have arrived at this goal. I am paying the price. And now I am able to teach you. Here is the truth: the gospel is priceless, and preaching it, or proclaiming it, is worth acres beyond the price we may pay for doing so.
Are you ready to pay the price?
Ask yourself these questions, and let your heart answer: What price tag can we put Messiah’s redeeming blood, on the blood that heals-saves-delivers and sets us free? And what price tag can we place on a dying soul doomed to Hell for eternity, though the same Jesus who died for me, died for him? So, is this worth the price it will cost each of us to proclaim the gospel? Is it not worth any price to bring this great life-saver Salvation to a life needing to be saved? Would we consider the cost of the person who lead us to Salvation and released us from an eternity in Hell too much to pay?
Are you ready to pay the price?
There are two answers here. It should not matter to us what price we will need to pay for the great privilege of sharing what the Lord has done in our lives by way of the cross. But it does to so many of us, too many of us. And why is this? Because we are not looking to Yasha, nor to heaven, where we are citizens, nor are our sights set on pleasing God. We have our eyes on the world. Our sights are set on pleasing man. We have not yet arrived at this point:
“…and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Revelations 12:11.
But we need to, each and every one of us, and for this one reason: once we can do this, there will not be any price too high to pay, any mountain too steep to climb, no risk too great to take in order to stand up for Yahshua, the One who gave to us what we can never repay, and proclaim the gospel to the ones around us who are going to Hell needlessly.
When we know how to die to Self, then, and only then, we will be willing to pay any price. Yes, even this price-the price of physical death-- for the sake of following Messiah Yahshua. For we can never
repay Yahshua, not even if we worked our fingers to the bone for all of eternity, for the unspeakable gift of life he has given to us. It is without price, and so is the privilege we have in sharing this priceless gift with others.
But here’s the problem: hesitation, fear, or just plain apathy stops us in our tracks. I called this procrastination. “I’ll do it, Lord, I’ll preach the gospel. I’ll tell others”, I said. Then I spoke the words to God that satan whispered to me, “But I need to study more first. I don’t know enough of the Word to preach it.”
Satan doesn’t care what we promise God. As long as we never carry out our promises, he could care less. It doesn’t bother
him at all as long as later never comes.
This is especially true of obeying the Word and telling others about Yahsha and the great sacrifice he made for us because he loves us that much. But, even after my transformation, I continued to hold to this mindset of continual preparation, of never quite achieving readiness. Why? Because I did not love my life to the death; I loved my life too much. To be blunt, I was selfish rather than selfless. I’d never learned a vital truth; I never learned how to die to Self. So, all three Persons of Yah, my teachers and trainers in His accelerated training camp set their caps on showing me how, exactly. The Father, Yeshua, and the Holy Spirit, who is truth. All three in harmony, set about training me up the way I should go. And here is what they showed me.
“Whosoever shall come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it, and whosoever will lose his life shall save it.”
Yahshua knew we would be unable to serve him with our whole hearts unless we deny Self, and lose our life. But what is he talking about here, what is he telling us we must do?
First let me make this clear: as is often the case, our English language falls short of the more expressive Greek and Hebrew languages, and the Aramaic language Yahsa spoke.
There are two words for life in the scriptures. Both mean the same thing; Naphesh in Hebrew, or psueche in Greek means our present
life with its passions, appetites, desires, emotions, mind and thoughts(or thinking). In the Bible this word is often found as life, or soul, and oh yes, let’s not forget, Self.
But there is a second word for life, and this is the word that is used whenever speaking about the life in Yasha, the life that IS Yasha. This word, is also interpreted as life in English, because we only have one word which halfway fits it, and that is the word life. But the word in the Greek in all these scriptures is as different to the meaning of psuche, as darkness is to daylight. This word is the word zoe.
Zoe is used in the 1st chapter of John whenever speaking about the life in Yahshua, that same life He came to bring us, and in every verse of the Scriptures which speaks of the life we are given in Him. One of my most quoted scriptures is, “…but I have come to give life and to give it more abundantly.” This is zoe life Yasha is talking about.
Zoe life is so
different from that of psueche life. Zoe is the life God has, a complete life, a life of wholeness, a life where nothing is lacking. When we have zoe life, we have life more abundantly, just as Yasha promised we would. Because Yahshua's very name means what
He came to bring. Yahshua and the shortened nickname of Yasha, both of them mean the same thing, SALVATION. He who brings SALVATION. And salvation is all that zoe life, that life of the Father is. That's why He gave His son to each of us, so that we can be
whole, complete, and not lacking in anything through belief in that name, and the power of it, in it and through it.
We are to lose psueche (pride of this life) in order to gain zoe. Just as any seed dies when it is first planted in the ground, we must die, in order to live and bring this life to others. We must die, that we might live. Or as Yasha puts it, “lose your psueche life in order to live your zoe life.”
Now that sounds like a good trade, doesn’t it? In order to gain, we need to lose. We need to lose or deny Self.
So let’s make a start in doing this. Let’s make the trade by denying Self. I’ll show you how.
Denying Self, or saying no to sinful desires, to the ways of the world, is a process we cannot work overnight. We do not simply do this in an instant. I know I am sounding like a broken record when I say this, but it really is a process, as is everything we learn, even spiritual things. God does not teach instant gratification. That is the way of our Western society, and it harms rather than helps us. Rather, God teaches endurance, patience, perseverance, and that anything worth having is gained by these important traits, not just handed to us on a silver platter the moment we demand it. What kind of child would we have if we taught him that he could have everything he wanted instantly, without even lifting a finger, without making the slightest effort? The same kind we often see in the world today—a demanding, disobedient, whiny little insolent brat.
Well, God’s a different Father than this. He loves us more than to turn us into this, or if we are already this, to turn us around from this, by teaching us to wait for the fruit of our labour, the same as we wait patiently for fruit to develop and to reach maturity on the branch of an apple tree every year.
While we are developing, God is doing the gardening. He is the Master Gardener. He is with us, teaching us, training us, nurturing us and encouraging
us as we grow, every step of the way. As He says, “My ways are not grievous.” He is quite aware of the fact that this is a hard world we are in, and it is getting harder all the time. Evil and coldness surrounds us, death and dying surrounds us,
catastrophic events are at every hand and around every corner. There are temptations, trials, tests, and persecution from a very real devil who seeks to steal, kill and destroy. These are the signs of the times. And the fact that the world is under the curse,
and asleep in satan’s arms is not by the choice of God, but by the choice of man. But, once we make Yahshua our Lord, we are children of the Living God, and he wants us to learn the skills which are so needed in order for us to survive in this increasingly
Denying Self is necessary to our survival. To do this, we again start at the starting line, not in the middle or at the finish line.
The starting line is the Word of God. The starting line is always the Word of God. Search the scriptures dealing with this subject. And there are many, as God has been far from silent on this subject, since it is so very necessary for us to die to Self.
Here’s a tip: I began in the book of Romans, in chapter 6, by way of chapter 5. And here is a step by step program for you:
1. Read the entire chapter a couple of times. I would encourage you to read it once in King James, and the second time in New International Version. This can really open up scripture to us.
2. Go to each paragraph, and read it separately (Hey, I hope you are reading each one out loud).
3. By now, a verse or two, or maybe even three, will leap off the page right at you. Take each one, write them down onto a 3x5 card(if you can. If you can’t, I still encourage you to write them down on paper.)
Make each verse your own. Personalise it. For example: take Romans 6:12.
“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.”
Read the verse itself as the Bible has it, then, break it down. Say, “I do not let sin reign as a king in my mortal body…Sin will not lord it over me…Sin is not the king of my life….I do not allow sin to rule over my actions.”
When you do this, don’t be surprised if a similar or related scripture comes to mind. If it does, go with it. This scripture has come up from your spirit. This is God speaking to you, and guiding you. For those ones who say,” God speaks to you, but he never speaks to me”, this may come as a surprise, but it’s true, ‘cause guess what? God is always speaking to you. He doesn’t have a speaking problem; You’ve just had a hearing problem, so his words have been bouncing off. This is one way we can fine tune our spiritual ears so that we can hear him better and more often.
At the moment, I’m reminded of this scripture,
“he who knew no sin became sin for me…”
So I take hold of this, and I say, “Yahshua became sin for me. I no longer obey sin for Yahshua freed me from sin. I am free from sin…I am free from sin…I am sin-free.”
Now connect this to the original scripture, “I am free. Yahshua set me free. I no longer serve sin.”
Will you look free from sin at first? It’s doubtful. Will you feel free? Probably not. Your freedom is not based on what you feel or see. Your freedom is based on fact. God says you are free. The things that are not seen, in this case, our eternal God, by way of his eternal, unchanging Word, nullify or change the things that are(in this natural world). You are doing what God says. You are mimicking God. You are being a follower of God as dear children. You are speaking his Word. You are confessing, or “saying the same thing”, as God. Like Father, like son or daughter. You, like your Father, are “calling those things which be not as though they were.” And you are doing so by faith. Hey dear ones, you are walking by faith! You are doing it! See how simple it is? “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
Remember, Rome was not built in a day. Keep this up. Do this step by step with every verse that leaps into your face. Confess and meditate upon each scripture. This is an in depth form of study.
And then? Act upon them, act upon the Word.
The result will be that you will become all you confess, all that God says you are.
So camera, lights, action! Acting on these verses will vary as we are each unique in personality, style and approach, and the way we see things, along with the time it takes for us to see them. Yet, we each must start with the basics.
We began with in-depth study, confession and meditation in the Word. Then, we act on the Word. We put our faith to work, “Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.” So now, here’s the action part.
Once more, we start small and build up. I was encouraged to begin with the food I ate. If my body wanted one type of food, I would say, “Nope, I’ll eat this one instead.” God told me that to mortify means to “starve”, but when he says this, he is not telling us to each kill ourselves physically by starvation. We are to kill Self by starvation. Self is also the body of sin, the sin nature, the flesh. When we give the flesh or Self a different food from what it wants, we are starving Self, the flesh, and therefore the dying process has begun.
My flesh hated not getting what it wanted, and you will discover that yours does too. My flesh wined and complained like crazy. You would have thought I’d taken a knife and stabbed it straight in the heart. In effect, I had.
I also was encouraged to die in other ways.
To me, to live was to buy, and to buy was to live. But, I wouldn’t be one to proudly wear a button, “I’m addicted to shopping”, any more than I would wear one, “I’m addicted to nicotine” or “I’m addicted to drugs”. This is the case of evil being called good.
“But Paula”, you may say, “Nicotine and drugs kill, shopping doesn’t.” Yes, it does. If it’s an addiction to anything besides God, it’s idolatry. Idolatry is placing anything on the same level or higher than God, loving it more than we love God, spending more time doing it, than we spend with God. And this is sin. In the book of Romans we are warned,
“For the wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23a.
So if we find an addiction in our live, what do we do? We put it far from us. We do it in the strength we have in Yahshua, and not in the strength we think we have in Self. God does not encourage “do-it-yourself” philosophy. He tells us, “For you can do all things through Messiah who strengthens you.”
So who tells us we are strong in ourselves, and
that this idea of being strong, and of doing things by my-Self is good and wonderful and praiseworthy—that we are heros when we are strong? The world. Being strong is in reality is being headstrong, not heart-strong, and God cannot move through me or
you when we are headstrong.
This being strong in our own Self is yet another teaching of the world, of which satan is god, which contradicts the Word of God. We will discover that most of what the world tells us, the stuff which we have in the past accepted as “the gospel truth,” is in fact, fallacy, lies, opposite of God’s teaching in his Word, and when we do make this discovery, we throw the lies out, and embrace the truth. We are to be one with God, one in Yahshua Messiah. We can only become one with him and in him when we yield. We cannot yield when we are headstrong, or strong by the world’s standards. We are not even able to love with God’s love, which he has placed inside us, until we yield to him. In fact, we will find an opposite, or a counterfeit to everything God has within the world system, and sadly, many of us have been taught these instead of the real thing. Dying to Self, is to die to these also, in order to embrace the truth in God’s Word, and to walk in his ways. But the gain is so worth the loss! I urge you, each and everyone: Step into the light, step into the real thing.
As Yahshua tells us, “For I am the vine, you are the branches; he that abideth in me, the same bringeth forth much fruit, for without me ye can do nothing.”
For without me, you can do nothing…For without Yahshua, you can do nothing…aside from Yahshua, you can achieve nothing at all.
What can you do with Messiah and in him? You can do all things...all things...all things through Yahshua who strengthens you.
How many things can you do? ALL things…ALL things…ALL things!
When we establish the fact that there is an addiction in our life, what do we not do? We make certain we don’t fall under condemnation, not the condemnation of our accuser, satan, nor Self-condemnation.
God does not accuse. God does not condemn us. He does not lay guilt upon us. Yasha died in our place. He took our punishment. God placed everything on him. He vented all of his anger on him. In doing this, Yahshua, HE WHO IS SALAVTION, set us freed from God’s wrath, from guilt, from condemnation, as it tells us in Romans the 5th chapter. Furthermore, we are justified by Yahshua’s life. When Yahshua was freed from the chains of death, we were freed from the sins and trepasses that killed us and Him in the first place. When He was raised up, so were we, and as quick as a blink, we were made not guilty.
Dying to Self is not always easy, but we can take courage in this: we are not the only ones going through this process. Our brothers and sisters throughout the world are dealing with this same issue of dying to Self, and therefore sin, as well, and remaining dead (to the world and the things of the world). This is a reality each of us must face in order to live in this world while waiting for return of the One and only Saviour. Death to Self so that we remain unspotted by the world and remain alive to Yah, so that the world may know that the Father loves them as much as He loves Yahshua.
Beating yourself up leads to more bondage: hopelessness, depression, despair. This is what Judas felt after he betrayed Yahshua, this is what he yielded to. Yahshua would have forgiven him. In the garden, he called him, “friend”. But, guilt does not lead to repentance, as does godly sorrow. It places us under condemnation. And God does not condemn us, so who is it that wants us to feel condemned? Not God, that’s for sure.
Contrast the condemnation Judas felt with the godly sorrow Peter felt after he denied Yahshua three times. Peter wept bitter tears. He sorrowed to repentance, and became stronger(in God’s strength, not
his own). Judas fell into despair, and self-pity, and hanged himself.
See the difference? The one, guilt, leads to Self-pity, and on to Self- destruction; The other, godly sorrow to repentance, and on to Selflessness and Eternal life.
Yasha is the most brilliant, shining example of denying Self that God has placed before us. Drink deeply of all that the Bible speaks about him,--his death to Self, and his selfless life.
Yahshua emptied himself so that the Father in him could
perform the works, so that he could speak the Father’s words. He emptied himself. He denied or died to Self, to his own desires and wishes. If he hadn’t done this, he would have failed to make it to the cross. He walked along a steep, winding arduous
path, strewn with persecution, and sorrows; and bearing the weight of our pains, our grief, our sorrows, our sicknesses, our diseases leading to that cross. And He would not have done so on his own steam. If he’d not made it to that cross, we would still
be without hope, and lost forever, doomed to an eternal death in hell, because we would be unable to free ourselves.
So let’s follow his example, let’s do what he did, and consistently practiced. Let’s deny or die to Self, and take up our cross daily, and follow him. This was the example he gave us,
"Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness, And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself(emptied, and denied Self)
And became obedient to death—even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:6-8.
Did I mention that dying to Self hurts? One night after confessing each day for days or weeks in a row, that I deny Self, and take up my cross, and follow him, my heart was so heavy, I desired only to withdraw and be alone with God; Just to talk with him, and hear him talk with me, as I was confused as to why my heart was so heavy. As the tears ran down my face, I poured out my heart to God.
I said, “I’m not sure why my heart is so heavy, Father. Will you tell me?” Answering, he replied, “You’re grieving for
Self.” His answer really took me back. I never imagined I would have grief for Self. I said, “You’d think I’d be joyous, not grieving.” The next day, I said, “It seemed so easy for Paul. Are things just harder for me?”
Or was it that I make things harder?
If it hurts when you die to Self, remember what one great man of God from the past said, “No pain, no gain; Pain, great gain.” And remember the secret Peter shared, which is not to be a secret to us at all, “he who has suffered is freed from sin.”
Begin the process of dying to Self. Even if it hurts. For, “he who has suffered is freed from sin.”
Remember, “No pain, no gain; Pain, great gain.”
Are you ready to pay the price?