Lesson 4: Death to Lawful Things is the Gate to a Life of Surrender
(Parables of the Cross, pages 32-43)
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: God may ask us to “loosen” our grasp on people, places, or things that are good things, “lawful things.” God asks believers to die to self in varying ways, while holding everything loosely. Dying even to lawful things liberates new power in the believer. The dying will go deeper as life goes on. One result will be greater love for all people.
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: Matthew 16:24-26; Philippians 2:1-11, 15; Philippians 3:7-11; 2 Corinthians 8:9; 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, 16-18; 1 John 3:16
In Matthew 16:24-26, Jesus brings us, as LT says, “back to the cross” What do these verses teach about dying/living, grasping/releasing? What does the believer gain?
According to Philippians 2, what is the heart attitude we need? How is it like Christ? In verses 9-11, what is the final glory? In verse 15, we are shown the end result.
Note in Philippians 3:7-11 the progression of gain, loss, gain. What is the believer’s final gain?
In 2 Corinthians 8:9, Paul explains the grace of Jesus in another way. How does Paul explain what Christ has done for you? How does this apply to your life?
Death seems to be a constant for the Christian. As explained in 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, what do believers carry in their bodies? How can this be a grace for us? According to verses 16-18, how can we not lose heart? How is the “eternal weight of glory” (King James Version) and anchor for your life?
First John 3:16 pictures of how Jesus’ death is evidenced in the believer’s life and how it affects others. What evidence of this transformation do you see unfolding in your life?
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 32-43 and consider the following:
- LT begins this section with the lesson of the buttercup. Paraphrase that lesson in your own words. Why would God ask us to be “hands off” of the treasures He has given? Do you live in an area where buttercups grow wild? What do you notice about the buttercup?
- Have you struggled with “partial relaxing of grasp” (p. 32)? Is it realistic to think that you can settle something in your heart completely all at once? Compare this with the idea of giving to Jesus what you know right now, knowing that He will ask more if need be.
- In your life, who chooses what you will hold loosely? Do we hold all in life loosely? What do you think are the heart results of that kind of holding?
- LT says letting go is simply yielding (p. 35). To whom do we yield these things? How can that comfort and encourage your heart? How does the “gain” of Philippians 3:7-11 fill to overflowing the heart space created by yielded things? How can this heart space make room not only for God’s presence, but also for the needs of others?
- Has God ever asked you to yield over something that He later returned to you? Describe that time and its significance for/in your faith journey.
- LT encourages the believer to enjoy “His April days” while you have them. It is important to remember in the midst of lessons on dying that “every stage of the heavenly growth in us is lovely to Him; He is the God of the daisies and the lambs and the merry child hearts!” (p. 36). How and when have you seen April days mixed in with days of dying?
- List – and savor – some of the rewards of dying (p. 39). LT writes, “It is loss to keep when God says ‘give.”
- How does LT tell us we can experience freedom (pp. 39-40)?
- On page 43, we learn that “deeper and deeper must be the dying, for wider and fuller is the lifetide that it is to liberate.” What is LT teaching us? Have you seen this in your life? What is the grace that leads us?
- LT writes about dying to all that is “merely human” (p. 43). Is anything in life merely human? What can she mean by this?
- How has dying to self produced fruitfulness in your life? What signs of Christ’s life do you see growing in you?
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:
Jesse Penn-Lewis, an acquaintance of Lilias – in relation to Philppians 2:
He, as God, deliberately laid aside His position and power.
He deliberately took the form of a servant.
He deliberately took the place of weakness.
He, as a man, deliberately humbled Himself.
He deliberately carried out an obedience even unto death.
He deliberately went to the cross.
“Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus” . . .
Finally . . . We shall see the cross from God’s standpoint and glory in it. The joy set before us, the joy unspeakable and full of glory, shall even now break forth, as with unveiled face beholding the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord. “Wherefore we faint not!” “For our light affliction, which is for the moment works for us . . . [an] eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:16-17). — The Message of the Cross
Open hands should characterize the soul’s attitude toward God – open to receive what He wants to give, open to give back what He wants to take. Acceptance of the will of God means relinquishment of our own [will and plans]. — A Path through Suffering
Saint Augustine of Hippo:
But living a just and holy life requires one to be capable of an objective and impartial evaluation of things: to love things, that is to say, in the right order, so that you do not love what is not to be loved, or fail to love what is to be loved, or have a greater love for what should be loved less, or an equal love for things that should be loved less or more, or a lesser or greater love for things that should be love equally. — On Christian Doctrine 1.27-28
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.
Jesus, Plant and Root in Me
Jesus, plant and root in me
all the mind that was in Thee;
Settled peace I then shall find;
Jesus is a quiet mind.
We Give Thee but Thine Own
William W. How
We give Thee but Thine own,
whate’er the gift may be:
all that we have is Thine alone,
a trust, O Lord, from Thee.
May we Thy bounties thus
as stewards true receive,
and gladly, as Thou blessest us
to Thee our first fruits give.
To comfort and to bless,
to find a balm for woe,
to tend the lone and fatherless
is angels’ work below.
And we believe Thy word,
though dim our faith may be:
whate’er for Thine we do, O Lord,
we do it unto 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)