The next time you drive by a wheat field waving in the wind, tall and glorious, know your admiring a grave yard. Yes, that’s right. It’s nothing more than just a cemetery of seeds. Vegans, I do hope you’ll forgive me for being so graphic but the soil is a merciless butcher! That slits open the thin seed coat allowing them to germinate, sprout and grow into the crop it is. Yielding abundant life, sustaining food, and nourishment for the world….That seed had to give up its life. Die, to give us the ability to live. That’s the not so pretty sacrificial process of dying to self…..
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24
Potential For New Life
If you were to go dig up the ground where the seed was planted, you’d be hard pressed to ever find it. The seed is no longer even identifiable as its old self. It has “died to itself” to produce something far greater than just itself, with greater purpose and fruitfulness.
Change must go deeper than the superficial surface, the soil must be broken up and ploughed, where the seed is not planted in vain, nor does it die in vain. There, in the thickness of manure and darkness, it rots, and putrefies. Yet it is exactly there, it experiences new life.
Jesus’ own bloody seed planted into death, yielded abundant salvation for the entire world.
When we wrap our minds around the fact that suffering is meant as a fertilizer to our spiritual growth, we may stop avoiding it. We may even embrace it and see its potential to grow us, not kill us..
But we can’t deny the powerful invitation of the enemy who offers us victory with out the cross, bloodless battles maybe, but at the cost of our souls. Because we live in a world that celebrates beauty, the mirage of having it all together, health, wealth, and stealth -we can’t escape it.
To be a follower of the Crucified, we must embrace our own cruciform.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Gal 2:20
Dying to Self Is Not Pretty
There are some times in life when I have absolutely refused to die to myself. Frankly, it was too hard, too painful, too costly, too scary. For those years, I consider myself as nothing more than an old dried out corncob. Those pretty multi-colored, cinnamon scented, tied up tidy with a ribbon and bow, dead corncobs.
My Spirit is grieved to consider, if each one of those “decorative” kernels were planted instead of preserved, if they were re-purposed to die, and then live, They would produce another generation that would do the same… and so on, and so on… we could probably feed the world 100 times over!
But as a decoration, they aren’t able to feed anyone – let’s face it, even the flies don’t want them!
The same is true if we are willing to die daily, let go of our lives and let God use them to feed the starving World, His truth.
By God’s grace, today I care less if I’m “pretty” … as long as I’m fruitful.
A dear woman shared with me that after 50 years of pouring out her life to serve her husband and children, with watery pain filled eyes felt that she still hadn’t found her purpose in life yet. My heart ached knowing, no matter how much she worked her fingers to the bone, it can only have so much effect- apart from Christ.
Standing at the base of a mighty oak tree, no one ever mourns over the loss of the seed it once was.
Dying feels like death
What in me must die today, to be a better spouse, parent, friend, child of God?
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Col. 3:5
Bonhoffer said, “He bids us come and die…it is the most apt way of calling upon anyone to join in following Jesus, for the dying comes before the living.”
John 3:30 says, “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” Isn’t that what the seed says as it takes on cruciform and new purpose?
Any kind of dying feels like death. No way around it. But it should produce godly sorrow, not worldly sorrow. Godly sorrow is deeply felt grief over OUR own sin, not someone else’s sin or even the loss of something we once had. As pieces of our old self are striped and torn away layer by layer, and redeemed -it hurts.
Through suffering, painful trials, betrayal, sickness, loss of love the soil of our heart begin to break open the kernel which is the very center of us. We finally relinquish control and we experience life, not just eternal life but signs of health and life spiritually here on earth too. The Lord’s discipline does not ever seem pleasant at the time but produces a harvest of righteousness . (Heb. 12:11)
It is in our dying to Christ that our purpose in life becomes defined. Bearing Something far greater and far beyond our own selves, with the capacity to bear much fruit. (John 15:8)
But just like every farmer, you have to trust The Process.
The seed itself cannot bear fruit, it must die. If it dies, it has limitless life. If it does not die – it is limited to itself.
Which will you chose today?
Power that produces blessing comes through brokenness and death. And not just any death, but death by crucifixion.
#DyingToSelf Is Not Pretty – but it IS worth it.
Song to PRAY
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