Victory Church
And Loving Not My Life Even Unto Death
April 14, 2024

And Loving Not My Life Even Unto Death

April 14, 2024

And Loving Not My Life Even Unto Death

Meera Short

April 14, 2024

Today I will share with you something that at the end of my last message the Lord began stirring in my heart.

Revelation 12:11 NKJV

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

This verse is teaching us about “overcoming.” A war has broken out, Satan is cast down from heaven into the earth, and no longer is he able to go before God to bring accusations about His people.

In light of me using my base scripture from the Book of Revelation, and being overcomers, I sense with a deep conviction in my spirit that we are indeed living in the last days before Jesus comes back. My heart is to convey that the Lord wants to help us to persevere and keep our eyes on living a life that will cause us to indeed overcome.

In this scripture, we are given three keys that allow one to overcome and defeat Satan.

1- The Blood of the Lamb – this is Jesus. Pastor Hagin talked about this during his evening sermon (04/11/24).

2- The Word of their testimony – This is the message of what Jesus has done. It is used in this context 15 times in scripture, and it’s just not a story of your life. It is a story of how God and His Word has manifested, transformed and changed our lives. It is more than just mere words, it is how we live every day, hour, minute, and second.

3- And they did not love their lives to the death – this is the key that I want to expound upon today.

It seems to me that we tend to quote this verse of scripture partially. And when the last part of the sentence is stated, that we tend to think of martyrdom.

The “Selfie” World – Self-Love will cause us to fail:

The word overcome means to prevail, to gain the victory. If the scriptures teach us that we can overcome, then the implication that is also understood is that we can fail to overcome.

The Bible tells us that we are to love others like we love ourselves.

Matthew 22:39, Leviticus 19:18, Luke 10:27, Mark 12:31, Galatians 5:14

These scriptures are not telling us that we must learn to love ourselves. It is being stated with the assumption that we already do love ourselves.

We feed ourselves, clothe ourselves, protect ourselves, provide for ourselves, bathe ourselves, take care of ourselves. If we look around long enough, we see that the world around us has no problem loving ourselves.

Culturally, I would say that we are in love with the idea of ourselves. I call it the selfie world generation. Our media is filled with images, reels/videos, of people who are constantly posing and showing us their best images and self-talk. Everyone wants to be acknowledged, heard, praised, propped up, receive the thumbs up and the hearts. We have no problem with loving ourselves. It’s a lie that we have to love ourselves more in order to love others.

What Jesus and the apostle Paul were pointing out here is regarding the care that we offer to ourselves in wanting to have our basic, life-sustaining needs met. We must also want to see that these needs are met in the lives of others.

Corrupting Self-Love:

The world’s way, the culture around us, promotes happiness and self-love. This can cost a believer more than they expect to pay. Here are some self-love cliches that we hear:

“Follow your heart, listen to your inner voice, stop caring about what others think.”- Roy T. Bennett

“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.” – Allen Ginsberg

“A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.” – Coco Chanel

“Be your own celebrity. Chase your own self. You are worth infinite treasures of this planet.” – Hiral Nagda

“Don’t sell yourself short; you are your best asset.” – Matshona Dhliwayo

“Don’t compromise yourself – you’re all you have.” – John Grisham

“To shine your brightest light is to be who you truly are.” – Roy T. Bennett

These are twisted statements. It places all of the emphasis on being the best you. There is nowhere in the Bible that God tells you to be the best you. God has called us to be like Jesus. He has called us a “new creation.” We have been called to walk in the spirit, not our “self,” not our flesh.

Galatians 5:13-26 Easy to Read Version (ERV)
My brothers and sisters, God chose you to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful selves. Instead, serve each other with love. 14 The whole law is made complete in this one command: “Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.” 15 If you continue hurting each other and tearing each other apart, be careful, or you will completely destroy each other.
The Spirit and Human Nature
So I tell you, live the way the Spirit leads you. Then you will not do the evil things your sinful self wants. 17 The sinful self wants what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit wants what is against the sinful self. They are always fighting against each other, so that you don’t do what you really want to do. 18 But if you let the Spirit lead you, you are not under law. 19 The wrong things the sinful self does are clear: committing sexual sin, being morally bad, doing all kinds of shameful things, 20 worshiping false gods, taking part in witchcraft, hating people, causing trouble, being jealous, angry or selfish, causing people to argue and divide into separate groups, 21 being filled with envy, getting drunk, having wild parties, and doing other things like this. I warn you now as I warned you before: The people who do these things will not have a part in God’s kingdom. 22 But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their sinful self. They have given up their old selfish feelings and the evil things they wanted to do. 25 We get our new life from the Spirit, so we should follow the Spirit. 26 We must not feel proud and boast about ourselves. We must not cause trouble for each other or be jealous of each other.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 AMPC
But understand this, that in the last days will come (set in) perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear]. 2 For people will be lovers of self and [utterly] self-centered, lovers of money and aroused by an inordinate [greedy] desire for wealth, proud and arrogant and contemptuous boasters. They will be abusive (blasphemous, scoffing), disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane. 3 [They will be] without natural [human] affection (callous and inhuman), relentless (admitting of no truce or appeasement); [they will be] slanderers (false accusers, troublemakers), intemperate and loose in morals and conduct, uncontrolled and fierce, haters of good. 4 [They will be] treacherous [betrayers], rash, [and] inflated with self-conceit. [They will be] lovers of sensual pleasures and vain amusements more than and rather than lovers of God. 5 For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. Avoid [all] such people [turn away from them].

The scripture speaks for itself. We lack no evidence that this is untrue. Our culture is seeped in self-love. Our conduct is filled with attitudes that are demanding that our needs be met, that we are heard, that we are understood, we seek to constantly self-protect. Which causes us to be suspicious of others and their motives. We are defensive with others. We tear others down in our hearts in order to build ourselves up. We think that speaking our minds at the cost of hurting and silencing others that disagree with us is normal and Christ-like. We lack honor and respect towards authority. All of this is because we are loving ourselves.

What if Jesus came to have His needs met, or to be heard, or to be understood, what if He sought to protect Himself? What if He was suspicious of us? What if He defended Himself when accusations were brought against Him? In fact, the scriptures say that He never defended Himself when He was accused. He loved not His life even unto death.

Hebrews 12:2-3 JB Phillips

Surrounded then as we are by these serried ranks of witnesses, let us strip off everything that hinders us, as well as the sin which dogs our feet, and let us run the race that we have to run with patience, our eyes fixed on Jesus the source and the goal of our faith. For he himself endured a cross and thought nothing of its shame because of the joy he knew would follow his suffering; and he is now seated at the right hand of God’s throne. Think constantly of him, enduring all that sinful men could say against him, and you will not lose your purpose or your courage.

2 Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith Give and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [reckon up and consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds.

If we seek to fulfill the best version of ourselves instead of who God has called us to be, we will certainly fail to overcome the enemy.

Dying to self – a key to overcoming Satan:

Matthew 16:24-26 AMPC
Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also]. 25 For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting]. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life [his blessed life in the kingdom of God]? Or what would a man give as an exchange for his [blessed] [c]life [in the kingdom of God]?

Here in this passage of scripture we hear Jesus telling His disciples that in order to follow Him they must deny themselves, their interests, their rights, and take up their cross and follow Him.

He is telling them this right after He told them that He was getting to suffer and give His life.

Matthew 16: 21-23 AMPC
From that time forth Jesus began [clearly] to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders and the high priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised from death.

Then here comes Peter, to His rescue – 22 Then Peter took Him aside [i]to speak to Him privately and began to reprove and charge Him sharply, saying, God forbid, Lord! This must never happen to You!

Jesus’ response to Peter

23 But Jesus turned away from Peter and said to him, Get behind Me, Satan! You are in My way [an offense and a hindrance and a snare to Me]; for you are minding what partakes not of the nature and quality of God, but of men.

Jesus’ response here is telling. He is telling us that Peter is concerned with the things of the flesh and that this is an offense to Him. Peter is concerned about his life here on this earth; Jesus is concerned about redeeming mankind and reconciling them to Father!

Jesus came to give His life, even at the cost of pain and humiliation, “The Cross.” He died to His own rights. He tells us that in order to follow Him, we too must be willing to take up our cross and follow Him. This cross is the way of abasement (to lower oneself) and having the willingness to suffer humiliation and rejection for His sake.

Dying to self is denying yourself the right to self-satisfaction, self-promotion, self-preservation, self-reliance, basically self-entitlement based on an over-inflated image of oneself. It’s not denying yourself of a necessity or even a desire such as a nice vacation, home, car or a certain meal. What I am speaking about here is denying ourselves of things that will harm others and compromise our walk with God. Our motives directing the lives that we live are key. Meaning, that everything I gain in this life is done with the motive of loving and serving God and loving and serving others.

If I pursue a career, I first pursue this with the mindset of: Is this God’s plan for me? How can I make Jesus known and the kingdom of God expand? Whatever we do, we do for the glory of God. What we do is not for people to see us; it is for them to see Christ in us.

1 Peter 1: 18-21 MSG

Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately—at the end of the ages—become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. It’s because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.

If it cost Jesus His life for me, and He paid for me in this grand exchange, I do not belong to myself. I have no rights of my own will.

Again, we are living to overcome!

The Little Foxes that distracts us and brings ruin:

Throughout the entire Bible, we see Jesus. We see Him beckoning us onward, and we see the promise of His coming.

Song of Solomon 2:15 TLB

The little foxes are ruining the vineyards. Catch them, for the grapes are all in blossom.

In context of this scripture (read Song of Solomon 2), the grapes are blossoming, the woman’s eyes and ears are on her beloved, and she looks over to see that there are foxes on the grape vines. It’s like we begin to walk with Jesus, we are born again, and begin bearing fruit, then here comes the distractions.

Everything in light of eternity is small and short. Our lives in this physical body are short. If we live 120 years, that is but a grain of sand in comparison to all of the sand in the earth. Yet, we make choices that will wound us, wound our testimony, and make us fall short every time.

We compromise and flirt with the flesh.

James 1:14 KJV

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

Remember Galatians 5, the flesh is at war with the spirit.

We may think that we are willing to die for Jesus, that we will not accept a mark or denounce His name, but if I can’t say NO to sin now, to lying, to cheating, to loose living, to illicit sex and addictions, hatred, disdain, vengeance towards others, how will I be able to stand then? If I cannot be uncomfortable now, how will I be uncomfortable when it is forced? It’s a lot to truly consider.

Romans 6:1-14 NCV
So do you think we should continue sinning so that God will give us even more grace? 2 No! We died to our old sinful lives, so how can we continue living with sin? 3 Did you forget that all of us became part of Christ when we were baptized? We shared his death in our baptism. 4 When we were baptized, we were buried with Christ and shared his death. So, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the wonderful power of the Father, we also can live a new life. 5 Christ died, and we have been joined with him by dying too. So we will also be joined with him by rising from the dead as he did. 6 We know that our old life died with Christ on the cross so that our sinful selves would have no power over us and we would not be slaves to sin. 7 Anyone who has died is made free from sin’s control. 8 If we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. 9 Christ was raised from the dead, and we know that he cannot die again. Death has no power over him now. 10 Yes, when Christ died, he died to defeat the power of sin one time—enough for all time. He now has a new life, and his new life is with God. 11 In the same way, you should see yourselves as being dead to the power of sin and alive with God through Christ Jesus. 12 So, do not let sin control your life here on earth so that you do what your sinful self wants to do. 13 Do not offer the parts of your body to serve sin, as things to be used in doing evil. Instead, offer yourselves to God as people who have died and now live. Offer the parts of your body to God to be used in doing good. 14 Sin will not be your master, because you are not under law but under God’s grace.

Praise be to God, that He can help us in our weaknesses.

1 Corinthians 10:13 AMPC
For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and [c]adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently. 14 Therefore, my dearly beloved, shun (keep clear away from, avoid by flight if need be) any sort of idolatry (of loving or venerating anything more than God).

We have to choose, and He tells us He will help us! Jesus is our mediator, and He is rooting for us all the way.

Things to Consider:

**The goal of this is to consider anything that we feel we have a right to. The truth is, we have no rights to our own way of things. If we have given ourselves to the Lord, we have been purchased with the price of His life, and our life is not our own.

Is there anything, or anyone that I am loving more than Jesus that causes me to compromise my walk with Him?

Is there anything that is causing me to compromise what is clearly against scripture simply because it makes me feel good?

Am I willing to give up being comfortable if it causes me to compromise Godly principles? A job, a friendship/relationship, a habit?

Am I willing to serve God and others even when it’s not pleasant?

Do I seek vengeance? Do I hurt others when they hurt me?

Am I willing to give up my right to be right when it leads me to strife? Will it accomplish any good?

Am I holding on to unforgiveness because it’s my right to do so?


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