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Self-preservation is an innate characteristic among living creatures. Jesus however, revealed a grander vision to His disciples. Rather than merely watching out for oneself, He enlarged His disciples perspective by giving them a counter intuitive statement,

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. — John 12:24

We know from the agricultural context this is true. A seed that is placed in a display case may look pretty, but it bears no fruit. Grains of wheat have been found in Egyptian tombs that were several thousand years old, but they bore no fruit. Only when the seed is placed in the ground and dies will it bring forth fruit. The context revealed that Jesus was teaching more than a lesson on horticulture,

And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” — John 12:23

The Gospel of John indicates that the hour of glorification that Jesus referred to was His crucifixion. At the cross Jesus paid the penalty for our sin and would provide eternal life for His followers. His death resulted in much fruit. He then applied this principle to His followers,

“He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.” — John 12:25



Do you love your life? If you love your life then you will lose it for Jesus and the sake of the Gospel. This is paradox – it’s only when you lose your life for a cause greater than yourself that you will find it. Martin Luther King Jr. demonstrated this truth as he said, “A man who does not have something for which he is willing to die is not fit to live.” The early Church father, Tertullian, realized that life comes from death, “The blood of the martyrs was the seed of the Church.”

What do you need to die to so that you may truly live and bring forth much fruit? If we take an honest look at our lives there may be many hindrances that keep us from experiencing a fruitful life as God intended. Are you enamored with worldly accomplishments and titles while neglecting the spiritual health of your soul? Do you own your possessions or do they own you? Has pleasure become an idol in your life that is keeping you from living a fruitful life? Blaise Pascal wisely noted, “One’s own desires are never satisfied when they have all they wish; but they are satisfied as soon as the wish is renounced.”

A fruitful life comes through a life of self-denial. We must die to our personal desires and ambitions and embrace God’s grander vision. It is only as we die to self that we can truly live for God.


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