At church recently I heard a sermon on planting and multiplication. At the end of the talk the above verse was highlighted and especially the phrase ‘if it dies’, with regard to dying to self in order for us to be an effective ‘seed’ in multiplying the kingdom of God in our sphere of influence. As I listened to this, I could feel dread building up inside me and wondered where that was coming from. I pondered and prayed. Then I remembered some of my biology teaching from a long time ago.
Seeds need optimal conditions to germinate with respect to temperature, moisture, air, and light. If any or all of these are not there, then the seed will not germinate correctly, or it will fail to germinate at all. First the seed takes in water and the seed coat swells and softens. Then the seed starts to breathe, makes proteins, and metabolises its stores of food. Finally, the cells elongate and divide, the roots grow and push out of the seed and grow down into the soil. The stem grows upwards and pushes out into the light.
If we are to be a seed that must fall to the ground and die, what does that mean for us? God created us as unique, and in His image, but maybe circumstances have wounded us, and we are not all that God made us to be.
Are we willing to take ourselves into the secret place of God’s presence, like a seed in the soil, allowing Him to bring change? ‘And I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name’ (Isaiah 45:3).
Can we allow ourselves to be watered by the living water that Jesus gives, beginning the process of softening our hearts and bringing healing? ‘But whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more. But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling) [continually] within him unto (into, for) eternal life’ (John 4:14).
Can we let go of our own way of doing things, our own agenda, the striving, and busyness to hide the internal pain and wounding, and be willing to be healed and free to grow the way God intended, living, and breathing in a new way, just like the germinating seed?
Are we willing to grow our roots deep into the love of Christ so that He can sustain our being?
So, what about this dread that was building, as I thought about dying to self. I realised that it was coming from a place of fear. Trauma in my past, and unhealed wounds, meant that I understood dying to self to mean completely shutting ‘me’ down and becoming what everyone else wanted me to be. Thank You, God, for showing me that dying to self is a place of freedom in Christ. I do not have to be anyone but the person God created me to be, keeping my face turned to Him, be submitted to Him and His perfect love, and asking Him to guide my every step.
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