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.

Realize that weak is the new strong. Recognizing and respecting your human weaknesses will actually help you invite more of God’s strength into your life. Whenever you see that you lack the power to do something you should do, you can call on the Holy Spirit to empower you to do it. Surrendering your will to God’s will in any situation ushers God’s power into that situation. You don’t have to fear any of your weaknesses if you trust God, because they just leave more room for God’s strength to work through you as you trust Him. Accepting your weaknesses and relying on God’s strength will help you do many things that He calls you to do, such as: wait, forgive, serve, depend on God, and be kind to others.

Realize that slavery is the new freedom. When you die to your selfish desires, you become slaves of God, which frees you from sin so you can live life full of blessings. Understand that the way to truly experience freedom isn’t by gratifying every appetite you have, but by gaining power over your appetites so they don’t enslave you – which you can only do when you’re a slave of God, who wants what’s really best for you. Remaining enslaved to your own desires will eventually destroy you. But when you become a slave of God (the only master you were ever meant to serve) by practicing submission to His will, unconditional obedience, and self-denial, God sets you free from sin, sanctifies you so you can grow spiritually, and gives you eternal life.

Realize that confession is the new innocence. You can never truly be innocent until you confess your sins; guilt will haunt you until do. But the Bible promises that when you confess your sins to God, He is faithful to forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness, and when you confess your sins to other people and pray for one another, you can experience healing. The way to innocence is by admitting your guilt and agreeing with God that you’ve sinned so you can embrace the grace He offers you to make a fresh start.

Realize that red is the new white. It’s the red blood that Jesus shed when He died on the cross to pay for people’s sins that washes yours sins away from your soul, leaving you white (pure) in God’s eyes. Only Jesus’ death can save you; nothing else has the power to save anyone. So embrace Jesus’ death and bury yourself in it so you can live with Him forever!

Adapted from Die Young: Burying Your Self in Christ by Hayley and Michael Dimarco, copyright 2012 by Hungry Planet, LLC. Published by Crossway, Wheaton, Ill., www.crossway.org.

Hayley and Michael Dimarco are the best-selling authors of a combined total of more than 30 books, including God Girl, God Guy, Devotions for the God Girl, Devotions for the God Guy, and Over It. Their Nashville-based company, Hungry Planet (http://hungryplanet.net/), is focused on producing books that combine hard-hitting biblical truth with cutting-edge design.

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles (http://angels.about.com/). Contact Whitney at: angels.guide@about.com to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.

Publication date: April 24, 2012