We don’t think enough about death — that vicious foe who devours our days. We will all experience it, likely sooner than we think.
How can we ready ourselves for life’s inevitable end?
Perhaps the best preparation for death happens when we die to what C. S. Lewis called our “ambitions and favourite wishes.” It hurts, but it’s necessary work. It’s daily work. It’s something we must return to again and again.
In my reading this week, I came across a quote from Milton Vincent about dying to self. I found his words both challenging and helpful. Here is what he said:
“When my flesh yearns for some prohibited thing, I must die. When called to do something I don’t want to do, I must die. When I wish to be selfish and serve no one, I must die. When shattered by hardships that I despise, I must die. When wanting to cling to wrongs done against me, I must die. When enticed by allurements of the world, I must die. When wishing to keep besetting sins secret, I must die. When wants that are borderline needs are left unmet, I must die. When dreams that are good seem shoved aside, I must die.”
Death is an enemy, no doubt. It seeks to undo everything God intended. Yet, the work of dying to self is a sanctifying work, a work that, over time, removes what is unlovely in our character and replaces it with true life, light, and love.
We must not forget the words of our Lord, that anyone who clings to their life will lose it, but anyone who loses their life because of him will find it (Matthew 10:39).
I must die. We all must die.