Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dying to Live

On a cool, drizzly morning I feel a bit suffocated by concerns and heartbreak (and, I must confess, probably hormones), so I go out to my rather pathetic garden in hopes that fresh air and physical work will soothe me.

It does.

I decide to plant a row of corn and see what happens; it's really getting too hot to plant, even though it is only April.

As I dig a trench into the sandy soil and then lay the seeds in and bury them, I remember a video we  showed the girls in Sunday School.  It was an interview of a sweet octogenarian farmer--so adorable--explaining about how wheat grows.

I pull roots of weeds from my trench so they won't re-sprout and compete with my corn, and I remember that elderly farmer, describing the seed that fell among the thorns in Jesus's parable.

He goes on in the video to use his life's work of wheat farming to explain the spiritual truths of the Lord from two thousand years ago.

I drop the hard dry kernels of corn into the trench, cover them with soil, and marvel that if all goes well, each one will produce hundreds of kernels in return.

My pastor often reminds us that in God's economy one always reaps what he sows, after he sows and most importantly more than he sows.

At one point in the video, my cute Sunday School farmer holds up a stalk of wheat and demonstrates how in ideal conditions just one tiny grain of wheat can produce a harvest a thousand-fold greater than itself.

I cover my corn kernels and remember that as I watched that video the thought that pressed onto my heart was this:

but first it has to die.

Jesus said:
 "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."

I admit, I have days it feels like I'm dying.  But I suspect the fact that it feels that way, shows that I am in fact resisting the death that would bring greater life.

Jesus went willingly to the Cross, because He knew why the dying was necessary--and that death wasn't the final result.  

And He does call some believers to physical death for His glory.  He calls us all to be willing. 

However, before any physical death, Jesus calls us to a kind of spiritual death that results in abundant spiritual life.  For myself and quite possibly for others, too.

What does it look like to die like that?

When Christ breathed His last, the Word says He gave up His Spirit.

Maybe that's it.  I die by giving up my spirit and receiving His Spirit.  I release my hope of glory in order to reflect the Only Glory.

I know this much from experience: Because my flesh has not yet died, the spiritual one is not a death I can die once.  Each day--and sometimes several times a day--I must die to Mary so that I can live for Christ.

Oh, Father, in this season of testing, I want to be a seed that produces a mulititude, not a hard and unproductive seed.   Show me how to die.


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