Jesus said many startling things about the Kingdom of God, about his life and his mission. Here is another.
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. John 12:24–25 (ESV)
In case we missed it: we must hate our life in order to truly live and if we love our life we will eventually lose it.
The ancient Greek has several words for life — the one used here is psyche — the soul or the principle of life.
We are shaped by the sum of our experiences: where we’ve lived, our education, travel, work, family, hardships, victories, gains and losses. These things establish how we think, what we value, how we perceive the world and relate to people. Life becomes the sum of our choices. Life is who people perceive us to be (at least partially) and really who we are deep down inside.
Jesus said, we must hate our lives — our psyches.
Why Must We Die?
- To gain eternal life. We give up a temporal life to gain an eternal soul.
- To bear fruit. When we die to ourselves, we see an explosion of life. That death brings the fruit of joy and peace, contentment and purpose. Our death also has the power to bring life to others.
- To experience glory — Jesus said: “the glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one (John 17:22).” He speaks of this future transferred glory as an accomplished event — common prophetic language. We die so we can live with this new glory attached and abiding in our lives.
How Do We Die?
It’s not easy or natural to die. Every instinct says we must keep on living. Every instinct tells us that what we have experienced, what we ‘know’ matters. Unless we fully embrace the reality of dying, we won’t be able to die.
- You must want to die. Consider the call of Jesus to die and examine the reasons you are called to die. Then accept the necessity of dying and embrace the reasonableness of dying.
- You cannot erase your mind. There is a very real limitation on your ability to die to yourself. You need God’s help and should ask for God’s help.
- To die, you make the conscious decision to give up your opinions and viewpoints, your desires, dreams and priorities.
- You must give these things to God in prayer by faith and with much pleading for his help.
- It is absolutely essential that once this is done, you follow Jesus continually. A life of following Jesus is the incontrovertible evidence that you have died! You remain where Jesus is. This is a mystery because in his divine nature he is everywhere but for us, he is where he leads us.
When we die, the Father then honors us.
We experience the glory of Jesus in our lives. When we die we are invaded with the presence and power of God. That presence and power leads us into purpose that transcends time and eternity! We also experience his blessing every day.
Honestly, it’s time to die! I know that this seems unnatural and it is hard. Walk through the steps I’ve outlined above and begin to experience what only God can do in your life!