Dying to yourself and following Christ

In the summer of 2010, I was a mess. I stood before God waving my little white flag and putting my hands up in surrender. I had built a life where I lived for myself and my own instant gratification. I cared very little about living for the eternal life. The result was absolute heartache, emptiness, shame, disgust, etc. I left my joy and self-worth on a path far, far away from me. What was I thinking? I’m able to laugh at myself now, but only because God’s grace is so fulfilling.

So what’s the point of my story? I came to a point where I was at rock bottom emotionally and was desperate to have God back in my life. I had my ‘prodigal son moment’ and I was so over it! So then what? It wasn’t like I said, “Ok God, I’m back to you now, so what’s for dinner?” It was hard and painful to throw away the life I had made for myself. I had to make many painfully humbled amends. I lost a few really close friends who left my life very disappointed with my choice to follow God. Suddenly I wasn’t accepted by these people I had let so close to me. I was looked at like some kind of circus freak for following the Lord. Only by the grace, hope, and love of God did I continue to walk on His path. I went through a few weeks where God was literally my only friend. I hung out at home every night. Here is some Scripture that explains why I walked such a difficult path to follow Christ:

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels-a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.”  (John 12: 24-27 NLT)

I am definitely not a farmer, so I researched how wheat grows in order to gain a better understanding behind this interesting picture Jesus paints for us. According to Wheatmania.com, “As the wheat plants mature, they will produce a seed head – one head of wheat per stalk. Once the seeds in the head of wheat have been pollinated and have matured, the wheat plant itself will begin to die. The wheat seeds, also called kernels, will be harvested when they have dried and developed a hardened outer shell.” Jesus is showing us the importance of His literal death for us, and the death of our worldly desires. I realized the incredible truth of this passage during the moment I was most desperate for God. As I continued farther down the path towards Christ, things really began to blossom. It’s been the most beautiful time of my life. I have been so joyful, hopeful, peaceful, and fruitful. The Holy Spirit has consumed my heart with the love of Christ and I pray I never desire anything more than that!

I admit that I am definitely still human. I have to die to my selfish and worldly desires on a daily basis. I die to these desires all day and every day! It is not always easy, but I promise it is so worth it! I can honestly say through experience that it is the only fulfilling, satisfying and lasting way to live.

Jesus describes the way we are to honor God, “Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour? But this is the very reason I came! Father, bring glory to your name.” (John 12:27-28 NLT)

We see that Jesus is a real human being who knows what God is calling him to do. He must be killed by those He loves dearly, and naturally He is not looking forward to this. However, He knows His purpose and He knows that it’s all about God and His greater purpose. He knows that His death will mean life for His beloved children. He died that torturous and embarrassing death so that He could spend eternity with us. He prayed not to be spared of this hardship for His own selfish benefit, but He prayed that God would bring glory to His name through it. This principle has challenged my life deeply. I pray every day that God will guide me wherever He wants me to be and to give me the strength to endure whenever it gets tough. Let us live a life where instead of asking God to spare us of an uncomfortable life (because believe me, there will be times when it gets uncomfortable), we pray that through it all God would bring glory to His name!

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty – the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.” (Revelation 4:8b NLT)

“Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13b NLT)

Devotional Author: Brittany Brown

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