Christian Counseling Training: What is Dying Unto Oneself?
While the martyrs sacrificed their entire being to Christ through death, their initial death was interior. The martyrdom was merely the fruits of their inner spiritual submission. Christian Counseling can help many discover their own spiritual martyrdom through death for Christ via submission.
Many will never encounter the executioner’s blade, but many of us will encounter our own sins and lifestyles which can be as deadly as any weapon. The saints and mystics all encountered themselves and overcame themselves, allowing their version of self to die and become martyred to the life of Christ. The grace of the Holy Spirit overcame them and they became like Christ. Through the entire submission of will, they became like the martyrs in all but physical and violent death.
Christian Counselors can help their spiritual children die and be reborn in Christ. Obviously the sacraments and personal commitment to Christ make us all “reborn” but a true death of self involves more than sacramental grace and courageous proclamations.
A true death of self is putting one’s will, one’s desires, one’s sinful pleasures, one’s ideas and one’s joys second to Christ. Christ’s will matters most. The soul that has died for Christ has put on Christ and no longer lives for itself but only Christ. This involves so much more than merely attending Church or proclaiming a Christian doctrine, but involves submission of the will. This submission is far from general but a submission to everything that Christ wills.
Many feel these types of submissions are vocational on a macro level. While this is part of it, it is far from all of it. True submission and death for Christ involves the micro level as well. This is where most of us fail and the saints succeed. Complete submission involves doing things we do not want to do–that may even be entirely non-religiously related. It involves biting one’s tongue when it is easier to speak gossip, it involves fighting a personal temptation that haunts us on a daily basis, it involves cleaning those dirty dishes you did not soil, it involves going to one’s mundane job because if you do not, the family will starve.
The sacrifice and submission puts our own ego away and accepts the crosses and martyrdom Christ has chosen for us. How can one dare to proclaim a grand martyrdom when one cannot simply kneel for that extra second, or fast on that particular day? It is the little things that matter because they are the things we do not choose. Many choose to go to Church, or give to a charity, or help a friend in need, but it is when we do not choose, that we truly die for Christ. These sacrifices may not be glamorous as great penances or huge religious rallies for whatever cause, but they are the one’s that are the hardest to submit to.
So unlike Peter, who promised to die for Christ, but could not even avow for him that same evening, let us submit and die for Christ in the smallest things–the things we do not choose. Then we will truly embark on spiritual martyrdom.
(And of course, Peter later did die for the faith–and very heroically!)
If you are interested in Christian Counseling Courses, please review the program. Our Christian Counseling Training consists of core courses that the qualified professional must take to become certified in Christian Counseling Training.
Mark Moran, MA