Topic: John 12:24
I assure you: Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces a large crop. (John 12:24, HCSB)
When the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy was a boy, he and his friends started the White Polar Bear Club. There was only one requirement for becoming a member - you had to sit on a stool in the corner and not think about a white polar bear for thirty minutes.
You can imagine the difficulty of meeting this entrance requirement, particularly if you sat there thinking, I must not think about a white polar bear; I must not think about a white polar bear. No matter what I do, I must not think about a white polar bear.
And I think that's what many of us do when we think about dying to self in order to be alive in Christ. (Galatians 2:18-21) We try to become 'dead' to temptations, to distractions, to the world by repeating, "I must die to self; I must die to self."
And that is like trying to not think about a white polar bear for thirty minutes.
We see how natural it is for a grain of wheat to fall to the ground and die, knowing it will provide a huge harvest that will benefit many people. But then we struggle - consider it unnatural - to follow the command of Jesus - to die to self' so that we will then be alive in Christ.
And so we begin to focus on the dying when we should focus on the living - on the Jesus-life within us that makes us fully human. Without the life of Christ within us, we live unnatural lives; it is only when Christ lives and works within us that we are transformed into the whole and complete and natural person of God's design.
What does this mean?
- Focus on the life of Christ within - In other words, don't look at the things to which you're supposed to be dead; instead, look at the life of Christ within you - look at the power of the Almighty at work in and around your life.
- You become the ?real you' when you connect to Christ - God didn't design you to live apart from Him. You become fully human, the person God created you to be, when you die to self and become alive in Christ.
What does it mean to "die to self" in order to more fully follow Christ?