Lesson 5: Death to Self is the Gate to a Life of Sacrifice: Part 1
(Parables of the Cross, pages 44-59)
DAY 1 (Monday):
Read the Section Summary (below). Then read the assigned pages (above). Jot down some initial impressions. Ask God to give you insight into the idea of dying to self and what that might mean in your life. Note those as well.
Section summary: The death of the self-life is not hindered merely by selfishness. The death of the self-life is more subtle and may look like sacrifice. Overcoming the self-life is not accomplished by struggling or wrestling but by dying to it in Jesus. The gladness of the resurrection results in power set free to multiply new life. Although dying may look different for each believer, sacrifice will overflow in service.
DAY 2 (Tuesday):
Read the Scripture passages (below). Make notes of any insights. If you find this topic hard, note your questions as well. Read and respond to the questions given. You will see that the questions correspond to the scripture.
Scripture reading: Romans 12:1; Philippians 2:12-13; 1 Peter 2:4-12; 1 Peter 1:22; John 5:30; 6:38
In Romans 12:1, Paul notes what spurs us on to sacrifice. How does God’s great mercy enable us to offer ourselves as sacrifice? What does Paul call that sacrifice? How is sacrifice worship?
What does Philippians 2:12-13 say about who is responsible for our growth in Christ?
What is meant by “spiritual sacrifices” in 1 Peter 2:5? List the truths of 1 Peter 2:9-10. How do they encourage us in making “spiritual sacrifices”?
According to 1 Peter 1:22, what is the result of an obedient walk with Christ?
What does Jesus say about Himself in John 5:30 and 6:38? How should that instruct us? How do you respond when you realize that even Jesus laid down His own will?
DAY 3 (Wednesday):
Re-read the Parables of the Cross pages that are noted. Then read and respond to the questions (below).
Parables of the Cross: Read pages 44-59 and consider the following:
- LT uses the examples and images of the dandelion, wild iris pods, and oat grass to explore the truths of sacrifice. How are these examples helpful to you?
- The above examples do not hold on to their petals or pods but give freely. In contrast, LT says that believers often do not let go because of “mere selfishness” (p.47). What are some subtle reasons why what looks like sacrifice may not be what is seems? (See p. 47 for LT’s list) Are there others?
- LT calls this deeper surrender to the self-life the “last surrender” (p. 47) What do you think this means?
- LT says (p. 48) that is is not by struggling and wrestling that we lay down the self-life but by dying to it in Jesus. Can even that dying be a work that I try to do myself? Does LT get at the heart of what strengthens the believer to give all to Jesus? A paragraph from her book The Sevenfold Secret may be helpful:
Again, as the bread satisfies the hunger of the body, so this indwelling of Christ in us satisfies the hunger of the soul, until it becomes rested through and through. And we believe that this hunger of the soul has been granted to you . . . by the Grace of God, to prepare you for the satisfying that is to be found in our Lord the Christ according to these His words: “He that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth in my shall never thirst.” (p. 15)
- How does the deep love of God the Father – shown in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the filling of our hearts by the Holy Spirit – enable us to release completely our hearts and lives to Him?
- LT gives new meaning to 2 Timothy 2:12. On page 54, what does “reigning with Him” mean? What can it look like in your life? Can you see ways that your life brings glory to Jesus? If not, try to consider asking for input from a trusted friend.
- On pages 54 and 57, LT testifies to the riches of this life that is surrendered to Jesus. Which of those are especially important for you?
- How can it be helpful (p. 59) to remember that we are not responsible for “the tangible results of our ministry to others”? What does a ministry that demonstrates the Spirit look like? Where have you seen or experiences this?
DAY 4 (Thursday):
Review your responses of the previous readings. You may want to re-read the scripture passages. Then read the quotes (below) for further consideration.
For further consideration:
Rankin Wilbourne and Brian Gregor quote Nietzsche as writing:
Nietzsche, who is the actual originator of the phrase “long obedience in the same direction,” writes of the importance of the thousand tiny decisions that make up our days: “The little vegetation that grows in between everything and understands how to cling everywhere, this is what ruins what is great in us – the quotidian, hourly pitifulness of our environment that goes overlooked, the thousand tiny tendrils of this or that small and small-minded feeling growing out of our neighborhood, our job, the company we keep, the division of our day. If we allow these small weeds to grow unwittingly, then unwittingly they will destroy us!” — The Cross before Us
About the past, and nothing being lost, the point is that “He who loses his life shall save it” is totally true, true on every level. Everything we crucify will rise again; nothing we try to hold onto will be left us. — C.S. Lewis Collected Letters [letter to Dom Bede Griffiths, May 25, 1944]
If we do not continually deny ourselves, we do not learn of Him, but of other masters . . . If we are not walking in the way of the cross, we are not following Him; we are not treading in His steps; but going back from, or at least wide of, Him. — “On Self-Denial”
DAY 5 (Friday):
Use the hymn given (below) and others you can think of for a time of worship and reflection. Ask God to help you understand the ideas given and apply them to your life. Read again any of the scriptures or other favorite readings from this lesson.
Take My Life and Let it Be
Frances Ridley Havergal
Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move
at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my lips and let them be
filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold;
not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
every power as Thou shalt chose.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be
ever, only all for Thee.
DAYS 6 and 7 (Saturday/Sunday):
Enjoy God. Worship Him as your Father. Thank Him for his many gifts. Perhaps get out in nature to see what God has created. You may also want to view more of Lilias’ artwork at liliastrotter.com (or on the Lilias Trotter Legacy Facebook page). Ask Him what He especially wants you to learn through this Lenten study.
For the full printable Parables of the Cross Study Guide, click here: Parables-of-Cross-Study-Guide.pdf (liliastrotter.com)
For the printable weekly study tips, click here: Parables-of-the-Cross-Study-Guide-Lenten-Suggestions.pdf (liliastrotter.com)