Saturday, June 13, 2015

Seeds Die

(Seeds from 1994, still in a bottle on the shelf....)
In John 14:6 Jesus proclaims, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

That explains a lot. Note, He didn’t declare that He is a way, or a truth or a life – but the way, the truth and the life. He doesn’t want us falling for the wily deceptions of the enemy.

In John 8:12 He tells us, I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

And again in John 9:5 we read: “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Jesus tells us that we are “the salt of the earth and the light of the world” in Matthew 5:13 and 14.

How can we be the light of the world if that’s His job? Because we learn to let His light shine through us, as we recognize His light within us.

It appears that, among other things, we – Jesus and those of us who love Him, are also likened unto seeds for planting.

Per Galatians 3:29, we are the seed of Abraham; And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

God’s Word or the Word of God’s kingdom, is also likened to a seed. In Matthew 13:18-23 we read the explanation for the parable of the sower, which is also expounded upon by Mark in chapter 4:14-20. Mark begins Jesus’ explanation with the words, “The sower sows the word.” Such important points are made in this story that we again read the account in Luke 8:11-15, where Luke begins the revelation in verse 11 with the words, “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.”

I’d like to point out that yes, the Word of God is the heart and the passion of the scriptures that fill our Bibles, but the Word of God is also the living Word, Jesus Christ, Himself. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – John 1:1

God’s spoken and written word is a seed planted in our hearts; it comes alive in Jesus, the Person.

I’m going to liken faith to planting a packet of mystery seeds from a local nursery. Purchased confidently, seeds guaranteed to grow in my climate and terrain; I ready my soil and plant the seeds according to the given instructions. I tend to them, per the instructions and I wait. I wait to see what grows in my garden.

God’s Word reveals a thing or two about seeds. For one, what is sown does not produce life unless it dies. We see this in John 12:24 (Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain), as well as in 1 Corinthians 15:36 (Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies).

Every springtime, along with bunnies and daffodils and candy-filled baskets, we hear about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord. We understand that, yes, Jesus Christ died. He died to pay the debt amassed by the sin of mankind; your sin and mine. Payment was death and a sentence to hell. Had He not died, faced hell and triumphantly risen on the third day, that debt would not have been paid. Risen, He put on incorruption and is now glorified with His Father. He gave up His earthly life, willingly, for us. No regrets. (Hebrews 12:2)

Our turn. In order to reap the harvest of our lives, we too, must die. We must crucify our flesh daily. Does this mean suicide? Clearly not. That would not glorify God at all; Jesus came that we might have life and live it more abundantly! (John 10:10)

To crucify our flesh daily, we deny ourselves harmful, carnal indulgences of the world; we turn away from the things God identifies as sin, those things displeasing to Him, those things that, in the long run, will bring us needless pain and suffering. So death to self means surrendering to the will of God in our lives.

Does God offer us pleasure? Absolutely! Sin is pleasurable only for a season. God’s peace and joy and the pleasure we have in Him is perfect and eternal.

We often wrestle with the need to do things our own way (temporary fun) vs. doing things God’s way (which promises joy, peace, love, eternity and every good thing we can imagine as well as so much that we can’t fathom). Given the outcome, why do we repeatedly choose our own way?

I suppose we often choose our own way because we can see what we want with our physical (temporary) eyes and we impatiently grab for it.

This is likely why most of us buy our fruits and vegetables from the supermarket instead of patiently waiting for them to grow in our yard.

We want what we want, when we want it – the way we want it. After all, “if it feels good, do it” – right? And “our way IS the right way” – right?
Let’s apply some logic. You and I cannot see what tomorrow holds; God can, He’s seen the end from the beginning. If He’s to be trusted and taken at His Word, we need to accept that He knows how tomorrow turns out; He knows what choices we should make today and He knows the consequences of the wrong choices.

He has only good planned for us. He gets no joy from needless suffering or our pointless struggles. But, take note; He sees what we’ll reap from the lessons we learn and the obstacles we overcome. He sees the end result of the Seed He’s planted in us, and He sees what we, as seeds, will become.

Choosing to die to our own self-will boils down to trusting and displaying our faith in a God that knows the outcome, instead of blindly following after the desires of our flesh.

So, little seed – will you prosper and grow, or sit in a bottle on a shelf, yielding nothing?

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