Dying to Live

If you want to live, you have to die first.

“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

Consider the infinite, multiple power of the seed – how many grasses, fruits, and animals are contained in each kind of seed; and how there surges forth from each a beautiful, innumerable multiplicity of forms.

   - Eriugena, Homily on John 1.1-14, Irish, 9th century

What a strange paradox, that, in some sense, a seed must first die in order to live.

A seed cast into the soil dies by shedding its outer shell, thus exposing it to the environment which nurtures the life latent within. The warmth of the soil and the moisture, entering by osmosis, quickens the root, driving it downward into the soil, and enlivens the leaf, sending it toward the surface in search of light. Thus alive, the seed knows instinctively what it must do in order to thrive and bear fruit.

The more we consider the wisdom built into that little seed, the better we will understand the process of growing in the Lord. For we too, in order to live, must cast off the dead shell of this world that encrusts our souls, and open our hearts, minds, and consciences to the warmth of God’s Word and the living water of His Spirit.

When He begins to work in us, instinctively we will drive our roots down in the good soil of God’s Word, drawing in spiritual nutrients to strengthen our souls and to prepare them to guide our words and deeds in bearing fruit for the Lord.

The more deeply and firmly we are rooted in the soil of God’s Word, the more we will strive upwards in the light of Jesus’ face, seeking the glory that resides there to strengthen and revive us each day (2 Cor. 4.6). Then and only then will we begin to bear fruit – as we are nourished on the Word and shaped by the light of Jesus’ face.

Neglect either of these – the Spirit-taught Word and the glory of Jesus – and growth will be stunted, incomplete, and without much fruit. But dwell in the Word, and have it dwell in you by the Spirit of God, and contemplate the face of Jesus daily, and soon enough the unique life which God has created in you will begin to blossom unto Christlikeness – righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit.

If we are dying to live, we will live, and never die.

Psalm 42.1-3 (Nettleton: “Come Thou Fount”)
As the deer pants for fresh water, let my soul, Lord, pant for You!
Let my soul thirst as it ought to for the Savior, ever true!
Tears by day have been my portion, tears by night have been my food,
While my foes add to my sorrow, saying, “Where now is your God?”

May I invite you to begin reading our new ReVision series, "The Explanation: Prelude to a Worldview"? Here is substance for you to talk with your friends about worldviews - what they are, why they matter, and why we treasure our Christian worldview as best of all. Read each installment - typically, two per week - and take the follow-up action suggested at the end. Then let me know how it's going, what questions you may have, and how we can help you further.

T. M. Moore, Principal
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Lord, I would be rooted and grounded in You, and I would bear the fruit of Your Spirit in every area of my life. Help me, Lord, for Jesus’ sake, I pray!

[1] Bamford, p. 87.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore