Monday, October 19, 2015

John 12:24-26 (GNT): Dying to Self

John 12:24-26 (GNT): Dying to Self

“I am telling you the truth: a grain of wheat remains no more than a single grain unless it is dropped into the ground and dies. If it does die, then it produces many grains. Those who love their own life will lose it; those who hate their own life in this world will keep it for life eternal. Whoever wants to serve me must follow me, so that my servant will be with me where I am.”

I am tempted daily to make choices that both serve and provide a comfort to me. For instance, when my family asks favors, my children make requests, and my neighbors need me, my subconscious reaction is to think first about how it will effect my day.  Life choices tend to revolve around “me.”

In the above verses, Jesus foreshadows the necessity of His own death: “If [the grain of wheat] does die, it produces many grains.”  Christ dies so the fruit of humanity can be reconciled with God and grafted to Him. Implicitly, Jesus addresses His listeners and readers, too. The faithful in Christ must die to the self-serving allurement of this world. The allurement of this world, in my example, lies in the emphasis of self.  When we die to the ideology of worldly thinking, like the elitist mindset of the Pharisees and chief priests of first-century Palestine, we gain eternal life in Christ. Jesus is not telling us to forget the life we live in this world. He is telling us, instead, to imitate Him in living it: Mercy, unconditional love, self-giving, forgiveness, welcoming the marginalized, and service to others are ways in which we can imitate Christ. For Jesus states that “Whoever wants to serve me must follow me.”

My thinking and living must be transformed, then.  Although my thoughts gravitate toward self will, self comfort, and self satisfaction, the answer lies in the life of Jesus. He provides the road map to living. Through His example and grace, we can all imitate and live a life guided by loving God and neighbor.

May you all be blessed and encouraged in the love and peace of Christ.  

Stan