Sometime back, I recalled when listening over the radio, the DJ fouled up when he was presenting 50 cents' song titled "Get Rich or Die Tryin' " by saying "Get Rich or Try Dying". I laughed over that for a while, after so many months have passed, the thought came back and I now realized this is actually what Jesus calls us to do.
'Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.' - Matthew 16:24-27
Our mentality over the subject of death is so distorted nowadays, that most of us avoid talking about this subject altogether. And most of us fear death because we don't know what lies beyond death. Jesus said that those who die to self believing in Him, shall not need to fear physical death because He has delivered us from it; not from physical death, but from the 'sting' of death. And because of that, we rejoice!
That's why I love the symbolism that's behind baptism. When someone is immersed (literally, dunked) in water, that signifies death. And why this is important is because we need to die to ourselves. It is a known fact that a dead person can't do much. He can't do much good, nor can he sin either. And that's the good news; Christ has called us to die, so that in our deadness, He raises us up again with His Spirit now living in us. So, when a person is raised from the water, that signifies a new life in Christ, with the Spirit of Christ living in us, making us move and letting us have our being. Paul stated that salvation is not by works but by faith. Faith in what? Faith in the fact that we are sinful people, who when we accept Christ into our lives, took the call to die to ourselves, and thru the power of the cross, God raised us up with Christ. And because of this, we no longer struggle to do good works to earn salvation, but rather, by faith, we move in the Spirit to glorify His name.
Until we die to self, we can never be raised to life. We need to let go and just die to ourselves. And by dying means, we let go the things of the world, just like real dead people, who carries nothing with them to their graves. And when we realize this, it's only when then God can raise us from this death, just as He raised Christ from the grave.
"Sin has lost its power, death has lost its sting. From the grave You've risen, victoriously" - lyrics from Marvellous Light by Charlie Hall