Today’s Scripture: But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. Philippians 3:7-8

What exactly does it mean to die daily? Let’s take a brief synopsis at the life of the Apostle Paul to find out. After being thrown in prison in Philippi and facing death, he is miraculously released by an earthquake. Afterwards, he travels to Thessalonica, and a riot breaks out over the message of the gospel. A few years later, he is brought before Gallio and ends up being released. Later, while he is living in Ephesus, another riot breaks out because of lost revenue in the idol-making business.

A year later, he finds himself being beaten in Jerusalem by an angry mob, interrogated by Roman soldiers, and taken to Felix so that he could decide how to handle this rabble rouser, Paul. This man holds Paul in prison for two years. He is then sent to Rome to be judged by Caesar. After enduring even more imprisonments, he boards a boat for Rome which ends up shipwrecked on Malta. He arrives in Rome and is set free after a time. After a few more missionary travels, he is again thrown back in a Roman prison and is martyred in 68 AD.

The Apostle Paul was always in danger of experiencing death. From imprisonments to shipwrecks, he went through hardship after hardship for the sake of the gospel and for the well-being of other believers. In fact, he said, “I die daily.” He woke up each day knowing that because of the stands he had already taken and was prepared to take again, on any given day, it could catch up with him here on this earth. Yet, he willingly continued to die daily for the Savior Who died for Him.

Let’s bring it home to ourselves. We may not be facing an angry mob when we stand up for the truth, but there are many things to which we internally need to die daily. Whether it is our ambition, our worldly friends, what we watch at home, or the way we respond to those who mistreat us, we need to make the decision to die to our flesh-to crucify it afresh every day. Is it an easy life? No. Is it worth it? Yes. When you get to Heaven and you see the face of the One Who suffered agony and humiliation beyond comprehension just for you, you will not be sorry that you chose to die daily. Whatever you are holding onto instead of holding onto the Lord, remember this verse, and quote it to yourself when you are having trouble letting it go. It is better to die daily than to live failing.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder