John 12:24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. 27 “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify your name!”
Time to Die
Over the Summer months, my wife and I have been vacillating between fear and excitement over what’s to come. We know the road we are on is the right one [selling all to follow Jesus], but as the time to do so draws near, FEAR rises in our hearts. Fear of death, abandonment, and the uncertainty of what’s to come.
I know what it means to count myself dead to the world. Paul talks about His life being nothing. [Acts 20:24 But my life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus — the work of telling others the Good News about God’s wonderful kindness and love.] I understand in my brain that Jesus is worth everything that I have. But when it actually gets down to literally selling my TV, kitchen table, the house and everything in it, my heart hurts. I worked for these things and my wife and I planned on getting them together. There’s memories there.
Jesus said it:
Mark 14 “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and watch with me.” 35 He went on a little farther and fell face down on the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.”
Hebrews 12: 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
For the Joy set before Him, He endured the cross. I want the Father’s joy. I want to know the joy of fellowship with Him more than I want the comforts of a home. [I am in no way comparing myself or a house to what Jesus did here. I’m just relaying the fact that He gave up everything for the JOY of obeying the Father. I want that same JOY that comes through obedience]. I really believe He is guiding us on a new journey.
What’s my Seed?
What do I have that could die and bear fruit? I have faith for a house of prayer and discipleship in our city. My heart yearns for a place where His Presence is welcome at all times, and people can experience the real and tangible Presence of the Father without a time table. A place where people can sit in awe of Him, grow with Him, gaze at Him, learn from His Word, develop intimacy in worship, and have faith and obedience to contend for change in our community. I believe that nothing good happens without prayer and worship. I believe we are changed in His Presence, and I also believe this community needs more of Him than we now realize.
If this house could be a seed towards that, I would be humbled and honored. If it takes me dying to this house and the security it provides for our kids; if that could produce fruit not only in our lives, but in the lives of our city then that’s what I want. But I know that fruit is His. The dying is my choice.
When I first became a Christian several years ago, God gave me a vision that pretty much sums up my view of the Christian life. In the vision, I was alone in the ocean. Deep under the ocean, several meters below the surface. So deep that I could tell there was no way for me to reach air before I died. I knew there was no hope. None-the-less, in the vision I was struggling and kicking and fighting to reach the surface-fighting to survive. Eventually, I just gave up. I surrendered, stopped struggling and drew in a deep breath. As I did, the peace of God overwhelmed me. In my death I experienced His peace.
What I believe God was showing me in this was pretty simple: surrender=peace. The ocean is His Spirit, and I was contending against it…struggling to keep my identity or whatever. We are promised that the “peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” [Phil 4:7]. When I work to please Him, my mind is full of worry, anxiety and drama. When I simply surrender and die, there is peace. I want that peace for our house and our future.
I don’t want to struggle to maintain a standard of living, fighting for my own will to be done. If God is calling me in a new direction, I want to surrender and die to self, and let His will be done. My prayer is that any act of faith on my part will result in fruit that will last on His part.
Watch the Farmer
Mark 4: 26 He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28All by itself the soil produces grain–first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”
It’s time to die. Every man of faith in history gave up something. We give up something to get something. The fruit is His, but we must obey. “Those who love me, obey me”~Jesus.