Following Jesus is a paradox because I have to die in order to live.
This morning I read John 12:24-25:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (ESV)
This is an oft-quoted verse, and so often the call to die sounds attractively noble. “Of course! I’ll do anything, go anywhere, and speak to anyone.” And the worse it sounds, the more my inner pride wants to experience it. But when God brings me to that spot where I must die to myself, I only want out.
There’s something about my bubble of safety and comfort and happiness that I don’t want to give up. “If I completely give myself up, who’s going to take care of me?” But I’m fooling myself into thinking this flimsy happiness is really the best.
“Whoever hates his life in this world will KEEP it…”
He will take care of me. I have to give myself up in order to know that He is enough. I think He calls me away from myself in love, because he knows that my “right” to myself is shackling me from everything that He can give me.
“It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35, ESV).
Oswald Chambers wrote,
“It is not a question of giving up sin, but of giving up my right to myself, my natural independence and self-assertiveness, and this is where the battle has to be fought.”
It’s a battle that I haven’t yet won. It’s easy to think I have won when I’m only contemplating the wonders that Jesus has for me but not dying to myself.
There’s more to life than my happiness this moment. May eternity be so real to each of us that we will do, endure, or suffer anything for it.
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