Lesson 6: Death to Self is the Gate to a Life of Sacrifice: Part 2
(Parables of the Cross, pages 59-64)
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: Life leads on to a new death, which then brings new life: “God’s Divine spiral” (p. 60). The lesson from sphagnum is that death is crowned with new life. In LT’s Parables of the Cross, death has been emphasized, but life is uppermost. Death is a gateway to life, so we should not be filled with gloom. Our works will remain after us if Jesus tarries. What are the endless possibilities of what God will do? Surrender and sacrifice, which lead us back to the cross of Jesus, can be seen in nature and tested again and again in the life of the believer.
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 6:8-14; Philippians 1:20-24; Galatians 2:20; Luke 20:38; 2 Corinthians 9:6-10; Psalm 37:4-6
Back to Romans 6:8-14 again. With whom have we died? Because He lives, how should we view death? On page 60, LT says that death is a gateway and “is never a dwelling-place; the death-stage is never meant for our souls to stay and brood over, but to pass through with a will into the light beyond.”
How does Paul face the tension of Philippians 1:20-24 with living for Christ as in Galatians 2:20?
Write a statement now about your understanding of death and life for the Christian. How might this tension be lived out in your life? Are there places where God has asked you to continue to die? Are there areas He has given the relinquished gift back to you again, perhaps in a different way? If you are familiar with details of LT’s biography, you might consider examples in her life.
What does Luke 20:38 say about the character of God? How does God’s “glory of His gladness” shining out affect your view of life (p. 63)?
What does 2 Corinthians 9:8 say about God’s provision for His children? What idols or disordered loves (Augustine) must be given up for the love of God the Father? Which such loves in your life are stubbornly trying to stay alive? On the other hand, have any disordered loves lost their power in your life?
On what does Psalm 37:4-6 encourage us to focus, given that God is the God of the living?
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 59-64 and consider the following:
- LT quotes Emerson as saying, “There is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning. Every ultimate fact is only the beginning of a new series.” And from Genesis 8:22, “While the earth remaineth seed time and harvest . . .” Where do you see this in nature? How have you seen “God’s Divine spiral” in your own life? How might the realization that in every ending or dying there is a beginning affect the way we see our lives and our work?
- How does LT’s illustration and lesson of the sphagnum moss expand this idea?
- LT reminds the reader that this writing is about dying to self, so the emphasis is on death. But what is our true destination (p. 60)?
- “I live, yet not I, but Christ.” (Galatians 2:20) How do you understand this verse at the end of this study, especially with her emphasis not on gloom but gladness?
- LT always hoped for a national church in her adopted country. She did not live to see it. However, at the time of this writing, there is a national church in her adopted country.
- LT quotes Revelation 14:13, “their works will follow them,” if Jesus does not return right away. How can you understand the future of your “works” in light of the life of LT? What perspective does that give you on your own life? How can that be an encouragement to people in full-time ministry? And to believers facing a lack of visible fruit in their work?
- LT is writing about death to the self-life or self-despair. This is a foundation for the rest of life as we walk with Jesus. How does death to self become a “glory of His gladness” shining out of your life? How will you go forward delighting yourself in the Lord?
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:
I know that when Christ says that “God is not the God of the dead,” he says that to assure me that those whom I call dead are alive. And when the apostle tells me that “God is not ashamed to be called the God of the dead,” he tells me that to assure me that God’s servants lose nothing by dying. — “Sermon 20,” [Easter Day, 1627]
Being dead to the world means that every legitimate pleasure in the world becomes a blood-bought evidence of Christ’s love and an occasion of boasting in the cross. When our hearts run back along the beam of blessing to the source in the cross, then the worldliness of the blessing is dead, and Christ crucified is everything. — Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die
The cross of Christ is the sweetest burden that I ever bore. It is a burden to me such as wings are to a bird or sails are to a ship, to carry me forward to my harbor.
George MacDonald prayer:
Thy breath wakes beauty, love, and bliss, and prayer,
And strength to hang with nails upon Thy cross. —Diary of an Old Soul
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.
Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus
Helen Howarth Lemmel
O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
and life more abundant and free.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
look full in His wonderful face,
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
in the light of His glory and grace.
Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
o’er us sin no more hath dominion
for more than conqu’rors we are!
His Word shall not fail you, He promised;
believe Him and all will be well;
then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!
O Jesus, I Have Promised
John Ernest Bode
O Jesus, Thou hast promised
to all who follow Thee
that where Thou art in glory
there shall Thy servant be.
And Jesus, I have promised
to serve Thee to the end;
O give me grace to follow,
my Master and my Friend.
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.
In closing: As you complete this study, consider the message of Parables of the Cross. Write your thoughts. Which is your favorite of Lilias Trotter’s featured drawings? Are there other sketches or drawings of LT’s that are favorites? Why? Which of her analogies connected you most deeply with the dear heavenly Father LT wants the reader to know and love? What spiritual truths have you gained to carry with you?
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)