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H8. Dying to Self.    [Make a Comment]

We are to forgo self interest when appropriate.

This precept is derived from His Word (blessed is He):

Key Scriptures

Matthew 16:24-25
Then Yeshua told his talmidim, "If anyone wants to come after me, let him say 'No' to himself, take up his execution-stake, and keep following me. For whoever wants to save his own life will destroy it, but whoever destroys his life for my sake will find it. (See also Mark 8:34-35 & Luke 9:23-24)

Luke 14:27
Whoever does not carry his own execution-stake and come after me cannot be my talmid

Romans 6:8
Now since we died with the Messiah, we trust that we will also live with him.

Romans 8:13
For if you live according to your old nature, you will certainly die; but if, by the Spirit, you keep putting to death the practices of the body, you will live.

Romans 12:1
I exhort you, therefore, brothers, in view of God's mercies, to offer yourselves as a sacrifice, living and set apart for God. This will please him; it is the logical "Temple worship" for you.

Romans 12:10 (NKJ)
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another

Galatians 2:20 (NKJ)
I have been crucified with Christ [Messiah]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ [Messiah] lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Galatians 5:24
Moreover, those who belong to the Messiah Yeshua have put their old nature to death on the stake, along with its passions and desires.

Philippians 2:3
Do nothing out of rivalry or vanity; but, in humility, regard each other as better than yourselves

Colossians 3:5
Therefore, put to death the earthly parts of your nature - sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed (which is a form of idolatry) ...

1 Peter 2:24
He himself bore our sins in his body on the stake, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness- by his wounds you were healed.

Supportive Scriptures - Dying to Self-Interest

Psalm 44:23(22)
For your sake we are put to death all day long, we are considered sheep to be slaughtered.

Matthew 10:38-39
And anyone who does not take up his execution-stake and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his own life will lose it, but the person who loses his life for my sake will find it.

Mark 10:24-30
The talmidim were astounded at these words; but Yeshua said to them again, "My friends, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God! It's easier for a camel to pass through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God." They were utterly amazed and said to him, "Then who can be saved?" Yeshua looked at them and said, "Humanly, it is impossible, but not with God; with God, everything is possible." Kefa began saying to him, "Look, we have left everything and followed you." Yeshua said, "Yes! I tell you that there is no one who has left house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, who will not receive a hundred times over, now, in the 'olam hazeh, homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and lands - with persecutions! - and in the 'olam haba, eternal life."

Luke 9:23-24
Then to everyone he said, "If anyone wants to come after me, let him say 'No' to himself, take up his execution-stake daily and keep following me. For whoever tries to save his own life will destroy it, but whoever destroys his life on my account will save it."

Luke 17:33
Whoever aims at preserving his own life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will stay alive.

John 12:25
He who loves his life loses it, but he who hates his life in this world will keep it safe right on into eternal life!

John 15:13
No one has greater love than a person who lays down his life for his friends.

Romans 6:3-13
Don't you know that those of us who have been immersed into the Messiah Yeshua have been immersed into his death? Through immersion into his death we were buried with him; so that just as, through the glory of the Father, the Messiah was raised from the dead, likewise we too might live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will also be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was put to death on the execution-stake with him, so that the entire body of our sinful propensities might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For someone who has died has been cleared from sin. Now since we died with the Messiah, we trust that we will also live with him. We know that the Messiah has been raised from the dead, never to die again; death has no authority over him. For his death was a unique event that need not be repeated; but his life, he keeps on living for God. In the same way, consider yourselves to be dead to sin but alive for God, by your union with the Messiah Yeshua. Therefore, do not let sin rule in your mortal bodies, so that it makes you obey its desires; and do not offer any part of yourselves to sin as an instrument for wickedness. On the contrary, offer yourselves to God as people alive from the dead, and your various parts to God as instruments for righteousness.

Romans 12:1a
I exhort you, therefore, brothers, in view of God's mercies, to offer yourselves as a sacrifice, living and set apart for God.

1 Corinthians 11:33
So then, my brothers, when you gather together to eat, wait for one another.

1 Corinthians 15:31
Brothers, by the right to be proud which the Messiah Yeshua our Lord gives me, I solemnly tell you that I die every day.

2 Corinthians 2:20
If, along with the Messiah, you died to the elemental spirits of the world, then why, as if you still belonged to the world, are you letting yourselves be bothered by its rules?

2 Corinthians 14:10-11
We always carry in our bodies the dying of Yeshua, so that the life of Yeshua may be manifested in our bodies too. For we who are alive are always being handed over to death for Yeshua's sake, so that Yeshua's life also might be manifested in our mortal bodies.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is united with the Messiah, he is a new creation - the old has passed; look, what has come is fresh and new!

Galatians 2:20
When the Messiah was executed on the stake as a criminal, I was too; so that my proud ego no longer lives. But the Messiah lives in me, and the life I now live in my body I live by the same trusting faithfulness that the Son of God had, who loved me and gave himself up for me.

Galatians 6:14
But as for me, Heaven forbid that I should boast about anything except the execution-stake of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah! Through him, as far as I am concerned, the world has been put to death on the stake; and through him, as far as the world is concerned, I have been put to death on the stake.

Ephesians 4:22
... then, so far as your former way of life is concerned, you must strip off your old nature, because your old nature is thoroughly rotted by its deceptive desires

Ephesians 5:25
As for husbands, love your wives, just as the Messiah loved the Messianic Community, indeed, gave himself up on its behalf ...

Colossians 3:3
For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God.

2 Timothy 2:11
Here is a statement you can trust: If we have died with him, we will also live with him.

1 John 3:16
The way that we have come to know love is through his having laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers!

Supportive Scriptures - Properly Responding to Self-Interest

Leviticus 19:18
Don't take vengeance on or bear a grudge against any of your people; rather, love your neighbor as yourself; I am ADONAI.

Leviticus 19:34
Rather, treat the foreigner staying with you like the native-born among you - you are to love him as yourself, for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt; I am ADONAI your God.

Proverbs 19:8
To acquire good sense is to love oneself; to treasure discernment is to prosper.

Proverbs 26:15
The lazy person buries his hand in the dish but is too tired to return it to his mouth.

Matthew 11:28-29
Come to me, all of you who are struggling and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Matthew 19:19
... honor father and mother and love your neighbor as yourself.

Matthew 22:37-39
He told him, "'You are to love ADONAI your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.' This is the greatest and most important mitzvah. And a second is similar to it, 'You are to love your neighbor as yourself.' (See also Mark 12:29-33, Luke 10:27, Romans 13:9)

Ephesians 5:29-30
Why, no one ever hated his own flesh! On the contrary, he feeds it well and takes care of it, just as the Messiah does the Messianic Community, because we are parts of his Body.

Philippians 2:4
... look out for each others interests and not just for your own.'

Galatians 5:14
For the whole of the Torah is summed up in this one sentence: "Love your neighbor as yourself" (See also Matthew 22:37-39, Mark 12:29-33, Luke 10:27, Romans 13:9)

James 2:8
If you truly attain the goal of Kingdom Torah, in conformity with the passage that says, "Love your neighbor as yourself", you are doing well.


The plethora of Scriptures that exhort us to die to our self-interests are due to the inclination of fallen man to dwell on himself and to put his interests above those of others. Still, we cannot completely ignore aspects of our welfare or we cannot live. We have to eat, clothe and shelter ourselves, keep from things unhealthy, and petition God to meet our needs (yes, petitioning God is most certainly a choice that is in our self-interest). Several of the Scriptures cited above speak of "loving ourselves", so "dying to self-interest" cannot be an absolute, and we therefore need the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to determine when and how much each is needed.

We encounter problems when we step out of God's will by being legalistic in either extreme - (1) putting others before ourselves in inappropriate circumstances, or (2) putting ourselves before others in equally inappropriate circumstances. A ludicrous example of the first extreme (putting another's need before our own) would be our stopping to feed a homeless man in the midst of our being severely injured and in need of emergency treatment. An equally ludicrous example of the second extreme (putting our self before another), would be our passing by an injured person lying in the street because we are hungry and late for dinner. Although neither of these examples are realistic, they do point to our need for God to cleanse us of unholy self-interest that is common to fallen man, and also to our need for Holy Spirit imparted wisdom in balancing our personal needs against those of others in the various situations that we encounter.

Classical Commentators

This Mitzvah is not addressed by any of the Jewish classical commentators.


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