the cross

Dying to Self: What Does it Mean?

As a Christian, you must have heard the phrase, “dying to self,” a million times. The question is, “what does this phrase truly mean?” This post should give you some insight.

Paul said in his letter to the Galatians, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20. From this scripture, it is clear that one of the hallmarks of a true Christian is dying to self. 

If we are going to be like Christ, then we must be ready to die to the flesh. Let’s take a look at what it means to truly die to self. 

What it “Dying to Self” Truly Means

One thing that Jesus Christ emphasized while on the earth with His disciples was dying to self. He mentioned in different ways, in parables and clear terms, that no one could truly claim to be His follower without first dying to self. 

dying to self
Take up your cross daily and follow Christ

A part of scripture that profoundly speaks of this is Matthew 16:24 (AMP), “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me].

From this scripture, we can see what “dying to self” means. To die to self, one must be willing to completely deny themselves of any selfish interests. Christianity is a lifestyle of service where, just like Christ, we are willing to give ourselves completely to God for His use.

Again, in this verse, just like the verse mentioned earlier, there’s a mention of some sort of crucifixion. Jesus Christ invites us to take up our crosses daily and follow Him. This means that you are never going to take a break from this life of service. Once you commit to it, you must continue until the assignment is done.

Jesus Christ, Our Perfect Example

If there’s any example about dying to self that we must follow, it has to be the one Jesus Christ set. Despite being God, He still came to the earth in human form to die by the hands of the ones He created. He did this not to satisfy Himself, but to be the sacrifice that will reconcile us to the Father.

Jesus could have chosen anywhere to be born, yet He picked a lowly manger in Bethlehem. He could have been born into any of the royal homes, yet He picked a carpenter and unknown virgin as His parents. Despite being the King of kings, He mixed with regular men and didn’t even have a place to call home. Finally, He chose the most disgraceful of deaths to pay the price for a crime He didn’t commit, just so we could have a life we didn’t deserve.

See the sacrifices Jesus Christ made just so you could be here? That’s the same life He is calling us into as Christians; a life of complete sacrifice. Dying to self means denying yourself completely just so you can do the bidding of the Father. 

Of course, you are not going to give up your home or die on a physical cross like Jesus did. However, God will demand of you certain sacrifices that will place you in an uncomfortable position. Jesus Christ was not comfortable dying on the cross, yet in His prayer at the Garden of Gethsemane, He said, “not my will, but yours be done.” Just like Jesus, we must come to that point where it is about the Father’s will, not ours.


Dying to self does not mean physically putting an end to your life. Instead, it means denying your flesh to satisfy God’s demands of your spirit. It means submitting yourself, just as Christ did, to service. This is only when we can truly say that we are Christians. There is a call for genuine disciples today, and if we must answer that call, we must deny ourselves, pick up our crosses daily, and follow Christ.

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