We had some tree work done at our house recently. Some large dead trees needed to be cut down. Despite trying hard to protect the living trees around the dead ones, some of them were damaged as the old dead ones fell. As I was burning the debris left after the project, some of the branches had been alive and some were long dead. As I broke them up and put them in the fire, I was reminded of two things. Dead branches break easier and burn better.

Have you ever heard of someone being referred to as "on fire" for the Lord? Some Bible verses that lend themselves to that concept:

[Jesus said] "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot" (Revelation 3:15 NKJV).

[John the Baptist said] "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire" (Matthew 3:11).

Just like dead wood burns best, those who have died to self "burn" best for Jesus. Self can get in the way. We want our way, our will, our desire, our plans, and our priorities. When we die to self, we want His way, His will, His desires, His plans, and His priorities. Jesus said it this way: "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me" (Luke 9:23).

Paul described the process in this way:

For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3).

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service (Romans 12:1).

When we are yielded and surrendered to Jesus with a humble heart, the Lord sees that we are broken to self. "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart — these, O God, You will not despise" (Psalm 51:17).

The Lord sees when we are broken to self.
If we are dead to self, it is easy for God to transform us from our will and plans, to His will and plans. If self is still on the throne of our lives, then breaking us and transforming us will be much harder. God has said, "I will break the pride of your power" (Leviticus 26:19). In other words, it's better to humble ourselves and have a "broken and contrite heart" that is open to the Lord's work in our lives, than for the Lord to have to break us before He can transform us!

James tells us:

He [God] gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6).

So let's die to self and humble ourselves before the Lord. If we do, He will work His transformation and we will burn brightly for Him.