Editor's note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Hayley and Michael Dimarco's new book, Die Young: Burying Your Self in Christ (Crossway, 2012).

When someone dies young, people often view it as a tragedy – a life cut short, with wasted potential. Premature physical death can indeed be tragic. But there’s another kind of death that’s a blessing, especially when people are young: death to self.

Dying young spiritually involves killing off your selfishness and burying it in Christ. It’s the only way to experience real life as God intended for you. When you die to self, you become free to live for Jesus, which will lead you to the best life possible.

So don’t wait until you’re old to put your selfish ways to death and start living in freedom. Here’s how you can die young to live for Jesus now:

Choose to trust Jesus with everything. Don’t compartmentalize your faith. Instead, decide to trust Jesus with every part of your life – from your relationships to your work. In prayer, give Jesus all of your needs, desires, fears, hopes, and dreams, trusting Him to handle your concerns and work to give you what’s best. This will free you from the pressure of trying to make things work out yourself in the ways you want and the frustration of hitting the limits of your own power to control your life.

Realize that death is the new life. Thanks to Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross for you, you no longer have to live just for yourself (a goal that will ultimately destroy you through sin). But when you decide to sacrifice your own desires so that you can live the way God wants you to live, you can enjoy an abundant life that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. In this fallen world, you’ll definitely face suffering – but if you’ve died to your selfish desires, you can learn valuable lessons from the suffering you go through, which will accomplish good purposes in your life. Through death, you can experience life that includes blessings such as: contentment, sanctification, faith, love, peace, hope, becoming more like Jesus, and protection from evil.

Realize that down is the new up. When you put yourself down where you belong by honestly and humbly admitting your sin and need for a Savior, you’re free to lift God up where He belongs – into the center of your life – and experience the blessings of His grace. Ask God to root pride out of your life wherever it’s lurking, because pride can drag you into sin in any situation. Whenever you see how limited your own strength is, decide to rely on God’s unlimited strength to help you. Let go of your need to pull yourself up, prove yourself, or fight for yourself and instead choose to trust God to do more for you than you could ever do for yourself. Pray for less of your own selfish efforts and more of Jesus’ power working through you in your life. When you do, you’ll discover blessings like: wanting God over happiness, being easily content, not complaining, not needing to be heard, not needing to win, not fearing failure, and not requiring perfection.

Realize that less is the new more. When you’re constantly pursuing more of your own desires in life, you become trapped in a destructive cycle that pressures you to seek more but never really leads to fulfillment. In fact, the more you rely on something to be what only God can be for you, the more you end up worshipping the creation rather than the Creator, and the less satisfaction you experience as a result. Ask God to help you stop using things simply for your own desires, and start using things to glorify God (such as by living simply and generously giving to help people in need). With less stuff you’ll have room in your mind and life to experience the blessings of more surrender, self-control, time for what really matters, rest, giving, love, peace, and faith.