Dead to Sin
Are you living as one who has died or one who needs to die? We should be living as those who have died, since the work on the cross is completed. Are you striving to die to yourself? Then you are striving to do the work that Jesus already did.
24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were going astray like sheep, but now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls. 
Trust that God Meant What He Said
21 But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; 24 they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
When we take on the work of dying to our self, we are taking over the part of making ourselves righteous. When God said you are righteous through faith in Jesus Christ, He meant it. Your job is to believe it.
Self-righteousness come in to play when part of our heart can’t accept that God really truly made us righteous by Jesus alone. We think that we can improve our overall righteousness score by making up some of the difference. Another way it can creep in is when we think that perhaps God died for the good parts of us, but we get to keep all the good parts.
We don’t think these thoughts directly of course; that’s too much contradiction. These things come across far more subtly.
Does This Mean We Can Do Whatever We Want?
12 Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. 13 No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. 
In Romans chapter 6, Paul addresses the question of giving in to sin after we’re saved. In chapter 5, Paul establishes the completeness of God’s grace and how it was brought through the blood of Jesus. In chapter 6, he opens by saying, “Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”
Paul new that an understanding of grace doesn’t mean an excuse to indulge our selfishness. Our new selves should be wholly and completely devoted to walking in the way of Christ. We have been raised in the power of new life through Christ and are therefore free to submit ourselves and follow Him.
Submission to our new life is vital to continue walking in the way. We must choose how our hearts and minds focus on Him.
4 Adulterers! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose that it is for nothing that the scripture says, “God yearns jealously for the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? 6 But he gives all the more grace; therefore it says,
“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 
What’s It Take Then?
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejection. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. 
- Resist the devil – Actively oppose temptation and lies
- Draw near to God – Practice being aware of Him and intentionally set time aside to be with Him
- Cleanse your hands and your hearts – Repentance
- Lament and mourn and weep , mourn, be dejected – Recognize the loss that happens from sin, the damage that happens from being separated from God
- Humble yourself before God – Recognize your true status before Him
Stay in Love
It is so easy in walking with Christ to turn things into a check list or another self-improvement activity. It’s so easy to fall out of love with the relationship part of things. Just as in a marriage it’s important to take time to keep the love alive, we must also choose to focus on this as we walk with the Lord.
In the passage from James 4, it says, “God yearns jealously for the spirit that he has made to dwell in us.” God is yearning for us! These actions aren’t the actions of a self-righteous individual that is trying to be “better” and earn more brownie points with God. This is the actions of a loving person who realizes that behaviors other than this will keep their true love away.
God is yearning for us; are we yearning for Him?
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (1 Pe 2:24–25). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ro 3:21–24). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ro 6:12–14). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ro 6:1–4). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Jas 4:4–6). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
 The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Jas 4:7–10). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.