“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. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” John 12:24-26 esv
I have been to countless churches, and if anything stands out about how the leadership and congregants at so many viewed serving God, it is that if they encouraged people to serve God at all, they suggested that people figure out their gifts and talents, consider the church programs, and determine where they would best fit. Every once in a rare while, people would be encouraged to start a new program based on their gifts. Many of the churches focused on programs to serve their congregants rather than those outside the church walls. Those that served outside the church walls sometimes had to recruit people to get involved. Never do I recall anyone talking about dying in the context of serving. Yet the more I seek the Lord’s face, the more I pray and listen, the more I study His Word, the more I develop my relationship with Him through Christ, the more He by His Spirit through His Word conforms me to Jesus, the more I learn what it truly means to follow Christ, the more I realize if I am to be a true, faithful, adoring, honoring, reverent, committed and devoted servant of God, I must die. So it is, the more I have walked away from the trappings of Christianity when it comes to the traditions of humans we have brought into it, the more I find myself dying. Dying to self and living for Him.
I always looked at the verse above about serving Christ as a sole albeit powerful verse until the Holy Spirit woke me up and showed me the context. The grain of wheat DIES to BEAR FRUIT, just as Jesus died on the cross. Just as we must do to serve Christ. Next, Jesus says we must HATE our lives to have eternal life. If we LOVE our lives, we lose them! We must forsake our will, wishes, wants, agenda, plans, purposes, selfish dreams, etc., to be wholly God’s and to live for Him forever. Next, those who serve Christ don’t stay where WE want, where WE are comfortable and secure, where WE can fulfill our wildest dreams, where everyone else says we should be, where everyone else is, where there’s an opening in a church program, etc. A genuine servant FOLLOWS Jesus and serves where and how HE desires! It’s a death to self. God honors the one who follows Jesus and serves where and as He leads us. It’s awful to the flesh, isn’t it? But oh, the glorious, unsurpassable, indescribable awesome love, peace, and joy we will find in the ever-growing intimate fellowship with Christ for eternity!
Will you die to self and live to love and serve Christ?