I was reflecting this morning on dying to self.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
I thought of how a seed grows. I found this:
Seeds are made up of three parts. The first is the embryo which will grow into the future mature plant. The second part are cotyledons, or seed leaves. These are not true leaves but rather highly nutritious leaves that provide emerging seeds with energy until the time when true leaves develop, ones that allow plants to make their own energy. The third part of a seed's anatomy is the seed coat, or capsule, that protects the embryo and nutritive tissue.
Seeds remain in a dormant state until favorable growing conditions trigger germination. Favorable conditions vary from species to species. Seed coats absorb water. Once water is available in consistent quantities the seed coat loosens allowing the embryo and seed leaves to emerge. If water is not consistent then emerging plants die. (http://www.ehow.com/info_7954468_seed-grow.html)
We are as the seed shell which is only present until growth begins from within the seed sown in our hearts.
Truth provides the seed embryo, experience provides the seed leaves, grace provides the moisture.
Thus, if we don't die to self, the seed cannot grow because moisture is not being absorbed. The seed coat breaks down when moisture is absorbed. So if the flesh remains strong, spiritual growth cannot prosper.