Reading Isaiah in bed just a few nights ago a piece of folded paper fell out into my lap. It was a photocopy of the same text that has been sitting on Pastor John MacArthur’s desk for many years now. I received this while attending The Master’s Seminary, and it has stuck with me every since. It is a timely reminder for me at the end of what has turned out to be a very difficult and challenging, though at times rewarding, first year of PhD studies.
John prefaces this quote from an anonymous author with the following words: ‘To regularly remind myself of … self-sacrificing love, I have on my desk the following words from an unknown source:’
When you are forgotten or neglected or purposely set at naught, and you sting and hurt with the insult of the oversight, but your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ—that is dying to self.
When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself, but take it all in patient loving silence—that is dying to self.
When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, and irregularity, or any annoyance, when you can stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility, and endure it as Jesus endured it—that is dying to self.
When you are content with any food, any offering, any raiment, any climate, any society, any attitude, any interruption by the will of God—that is dying to self.
When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record your own good works, or itch after commendation, when you can truly love to be unknown—that is dying to self.
When you see your brother prosper and have his needs met and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances—that is dying to self.
When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself, can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart—that is dying to self.