I Die Daily
The apostle Paul in his first epistle to the Corinthian Church wrote the famous phrase: “I die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31). In this passage, Paul was showing his pride in the fruits of his ministry and the hope of the Resurrection that allowed him to endure trials and actually “die daily.” Paul argued, if there is no resurrection from the dead, this daily dying would appear to be foolishness. He did not ascribe credit for his ministry, but credited its success to “Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The life of the apostle to the Gentiles was so full of hardships, persecutions, troubles, and trials that it might have seemed like a living death. In Romans 8:36, he wrote, “For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” And he added in 2 Corinthians 4:8–11, “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”
Strength in Weakness
The phrase “I die daily” contains also the secret for Paul’s triumphant life. For the Lord revealed to him “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9,10).
The Lord meets all the needs of His children with His grace. God has never promised to change the circumstances of His children or free them from hardships. Outwardly a believer may be broken, yet inwardly he will have perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3, 4). Thus, defeat can always be transformed into victory. The character of the believer is formed when he doesn’t rely on self but God. The great heroes of the Bible such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Daniel went through similar experiences.
The Hope of the Resurrection
The apostle Paul understood clearly that the life of the believer must be one of self-denial at every step of the road (Galatians 2:20; Matthew 16:24–26). The believer who struggles in this life and walks through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4), may take courage from the fact that all trials will cease when Jesus Christ comes again, raise the dead, and take the righteous to their eternal home of glory (1 Corinthians 15:51–53; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17). This very hope gives him the stamina to die daily.
In His service,
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