Spring is here, and new life is bursting all around us. In fact, the blossoms are already giving way to new fruit. Have you ever considered that this new life wouldn’t be possible without death? So it is with new life in Christ.
Jesus told his disciples in John 12:24,
“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
He was trying to make them understand that He must die, in order for us to live. Then He goes on in verse 25,
“Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”
Wow. That’s kind of harsh. Unless you remember that Jesus’ purpose in coming to live with us wasn’t a pleasure trip. It was strictly business. It was to redeem His creation. To pay the price to return us to unity with our Heavenly Father.
Jesus gave everything He had to give for me. He held back nothing. But He didn’t do it for a part of me, or a couple hours, once a week. He wants all of me.
Why? First of all, He deserves it, and second of all, He has many more children out there who are lost. Only when I give up my will for His, can He use me to bring them home. Paul said in Galatians 2:20,
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”
What does that mean? Well, I’m finding out. I’m finding out that it’s not the least bit figurative.
As I surrender to The Lord, He shows me parts of my “self” that, to my surprise, are very much alive and well—and keeping me from experiencing more of Him.
There was a time in my life when, confronted with one of my failings, I’d simply throw a pity party—usually with chocolate—lick my wounds, and continue on as usual.
But now I see the value of letting God live in me. I want more. But, to get more of Him, more of me must go. Each time I’m shown these parts one by one: unforgiveness, fear, control, pride . . . it’s not a gentle nudge. More like a head-on collision. Then comes a bloody battle of the wills—against something I didn’t even know was there.
It’s as if these characteristics each have a life of their own, and with it, a will to survive. Even when I no longer want them in my life.
But, I have The Holy Spirit and the promise of The Word on my side. Together, we wrestle the offender to the cross and crucify it—once and for all.
It’s a miserable, painful, and humbling process. I hate it. But, you know, after walking away from each of those corpses, I can honestly say I’ve never missed them a day. I’ve never been tempted to go back and try to revive them.
Each time a part of me dies, another weight is lifted, and I’m freer, lighter, more joyful. Another veil is lifted, and I begin to experience God on a whole new level.
If my gradual death results in new growth—in me and those around me—and helps lead others to Christ, I’ll gladly take up my cross daily and follow Him.
Do you desire a closer relationship with your Savior? Ask Him to show you anything in your life that is keeping you from Him. Then ask Him to help you take it to the cross. You’ll be amazed what sprouts from the kernels you drop!
God’s Grace and Peace be yours,