Written By Mark Stengler
The Christian life is like a great paradox. Wanna be great? Become like a child. The path to strength? Weakness and dependence on God. How to live life to the fullest? Come and die with Christ.
Jesus said in John 12:24-25,
“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.”
Wait a sec, is Jesus calling us to hate ourselves so that we can live forever? Is He talking about experiencing a type of self-hatred in this life so we can have a place in the afterlife?
Well, what Jesus is actually saying is that just like a grain of wheat must “die” so it can produce fruit, i.e. produce more grain, there’s also a type of dying we must experience as followers of Christ. When we die to our flesh, or what can be termed the false self or the old person in us, then we can experience eternal life.
Keep in mind that eternal life does not simply mean that I’m going to heaven one day. Rather, it is a certain quality life that can be experienced now and continues forever. This is why Jesus described eternal life in John 17:3 as having an intimate, personal knowledge of God. Therefore, if you have been reconciled to God through faith in His Son, you have already entered into eternal life because you now have a right relationship with the living God.
We die to our old ways of life and the “Adam” in all of us by believing the truth that we have died with Christ and are alive to God (Rom. 6:8-11). Then, we can fully experience the eternal life which is found in Christ (1 Jn. 5:20), and bear fruit for the glory of God.
So, this Lenten season, ask yourself, “Do I believe that I have died and been raised with Christ?” “What is keeping me from experiencing the eternal life Jesus promised and manifesting His life to the world?”