The call of our savior is to deny ourselves and take up our cross, ""If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Matthew 16:24). The one unmistakable characteristic of a truly regenerate person is that they die to themselves, listen to the words of the Apostle Paul, "And He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf" (1Corinthians 5:15).
Now, you have to know that before I make a critique of our church culture, I always start at home first, which is my own lack of dying to my own self will, or my own old man who is sinful at its very core. The critique of our church culture is certainly not of any one individual, but what I have observed and experienced in the church culture as a whole.
Where is the discipleship in our churches that echoes the words of our Savior to die to self ? to become slaves to Christ? to be that kernel of wheat that falls into the ground and dies cf. John 12:24? Where is the emphasis that the christian life is not about us being happy and getting our dreams fulfilled; why is the emphasis on us getting the most out of life?
This is an extremely serious flaw in many of our churches today. The ethos that many of our churches have adopted is the Joel Osteen theology of getting "your best life now." This theology certainly appeals to many sitting in the pews, but it is not the gospel and it truly is man centered.
When I read the lives of the above mentioned men, I'm impacted with the truth of the REAL gospel, the gospel that calls for a daily death to ourselves. Let us be like the Apostle Paul whose motto for his life was: " for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21).
Be intentional and get alone with God and ask God to show you the areas in your life that must be nailed to the cross. Make a list of those areas that the Holy Spirit shows you, and then find passages in the Holy Bible that speak to those areas and then begin to apply the power of God's word to those areas that need to be crucified.
My own personal axiom for living is "its not about us, its about His glory and honor."
Christian, be that living sacrifice for His glory and honor!