Romans 8:13-14 (ESV)
13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Once upon a time, there was a prince who received a very rare and beautiful bird. He named her Goldie and placed her in a lovely, 14K gold cage. But the poor creature was not impressed by the gold at all. She pleaded for her freedom but the prince loved her much too much to part with her. Still, she continued to beg. In final desperation, she asked that he at least allow her go to her relatives and tell them that, though captive, she was still alive.
The prince was not certain she would return if he allowed her to go, so he decided to go and inform them himself. He went into the forest, where Goldie directed him and he found her sister. When she heard the awful news of Goldie's capture, she immediately fell to the ground and died.
Sorrowful, he returned to his castle and told Goldie the sad news that her sister had died. Immediately Goldie collapsed and died in the same manner.
Perplexed, but a tear rolling down his cheek, the prince then took the poor bird out of the cage, gently wrapped her in a cloth and placed her on his window sill in order to bury her. Suddenly, to the prince's amazement, the cloth began to move and Goldie fluttered out. She quickly flew out the window and landed in the nearest tree.
"You don't understand, fine prince" called the bird from the nearby, "by pretending to die, my sister taught me the way to escape."
The moral of the story is simply this. If we want to truly be free -- we have to die!
If we want to truly live a life of freedom, a life full of peace and joy, a life which provokes others to jealousy -- we must learn to die to our flesh and give our all to the One who has given His all for us! Let's take up our cross once again today.
Dear Lord, help us to learn to die to our self and give ourselves completely to You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.