DYING to SELF is the SECRET of FRUITFULNESS: "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. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life." (John 12:24-25)
This is a powerful illustration of Christian discipleship. A grain of wheat that is not sown in the ground remains alone. This grain of wheat must die before it can reproduce itself and be fruitful.
Christ used this to illustrate His own death, which resulted in a rich spiritual harvest after His death and resurrection. He referred to Himself as a grain (or kernel) of wheat. If He did not die, He would abide alone. He would enjoy the glories of heaven by Himself; there would be no saved sinners there to share His glory. But if He died, He would provide a way of salvation by which many might be saved.
The same applies to us, as T. G. Ragland says: “If we refuse to be corns of wheat—falling into the ground, and dying; if we will neither sacrifice prospects, nor risk character, and property, and health; nor, when we are called, relinquish home, and break family ties, for Christ’s sake; then we shall abide alone. But if we wish to be fruitful, we must follow our Blessed Lord Himself, by becoming a corn of wheat, and dying; then we shall bring forth much fruit.”
Many people in this world think that the important things in life are food, clothing, and pleasure. They live for these things. But in thus loving their lives, they fail to realize that the soul is more important than the body. By neglecting their soul’s welfare, they lose their lives. On the other hand, there are those who count all things loss for Christ. To serve Him, they forego things highly prized among men. These are the people who will keep their lives for eternal life. To hate one’s life means to love Christ more than one loves his own interests!
Hating our lives involve serving Christ. We must individually establish our own priorities. We cannot give ourselves fully to this life and yet be committed to the life to come. There are three things we can learn from this illustration:
- We should be willing to die to ourselves and to the world in order to be fruitful.
- We should give more importance to the things of God than seeking our own pleasures.
- We should be willing to serve God and follow the direction that He shows in our lives.