Defeat and Victory: Dying to Self to Live for Christ
Truly, truly, I [Jesus] 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 ESV
He held me in His hand. I saw the light of the sun and felt the cool breeze. Then one day He dropped me into a dark hole.
Certainly this is a mistake, He didn’t mean to drop me. He has good plans for me. He will pick me up.
Then everything goes black.
This can’t be. Where is the sun? The cool breeze? Where is God? I don’t like this hole. Air. I need air. Is this what death feels like?
Ugh! It’s moist in here too? Couldn’t You have at least let it be dry in here? This moisture is doing something to me. I feel too big for my skin. I’m scared. This is not what I planned. I feel like I may burst. Am I dying?
Wait, I’m not dead, I’m stretching. Stretching down and pushing up. Curling and unfurling. Oh, there it is! The sun and that cool breeze I longed for…God didn’t call me to die to stay dead. He called me to die so that I could live.
Am I willing to let God plant me where He will? To die to myself so that He can bring life from my death? Elisabeth Elliot called these “little deaths.”
Life requires countless “little” deaths – occasions when we are given the chance to say no to self and yes to God.
Elisabeth Elliot, Passion and Purity page 73
These deaths do not mean that we have no hopes or aspirations. It simply means we lay our hopes and aspirations on God’s altar and allow Him to burn them up or use them for His glory and honor. It means we do not dictate how we will grow or where we will grow or what we will grow into. Instead we rest in God’s promises that He has plans to use all the darkness, wetness, and heaviness for His glory. Trusting He will continue to grow His fruit in us in order to expand His kingdom.
We die to ourselves that we may live for Christ. We stop worrying about things that will not last and lay up treasures in heaven where moth and rust cannot destroy. We cry out to the Lord in the darkness, in our distress, and we soak in His nearness. We trust His presence even when we wonder why He has dropped us in this hole. Then we allow Him to grow in us His fruit for His glory while we continually look for His gracious work in the dark and trying times.
Father God, often I choose to look at my dark times as death rather that opportunities to die to myself that I may live for You. Help me to let go of what I think I want so I can bear fruit for Your glory. May I remember You do not call me to die in order to be dead. You call me to die so that I can truly live. Help me to bear Your fruit that Your kingdom may expand and Your glory may be seen. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.