LIFE from DEATH – Spiritual Transformation
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies,
it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
It is one of those glorious mysteries of both nature and the spiritual realm: Death produces Life.
When I was a child, my sister and I would sometimes take a regular old lima bean out of the package and stick it in a jar with a wet paper towel. We would keep that paper towel wet and the bean pressed between it and the jar. Miraculously, within a day or two, the outer shell split and a green shoot would appear. We marveled at how quickly it grew–inches per day, it seemed! The seed died, but life sprang forth! Amazing!
But soon we lost interest in its nurturing. We never took the next steps: transplanting it to soil, continuing to water it so it could flourish and bear fruit. Sadly, our little shoot never bore a harvest of lima beans! (No huge loss, some of you may think!)
As I enter Lent and a time to reflect on Christ and my own life, this verse from John 12 has been planted (pardon the pun) in my mind. I, and I’m sure many of you, long to have the image of Christ formed in me–to love, serve and bear fruit for his glory. How can this happen? As I am prayerfully considering this in these days of Lent, a few thoughts come to mind.
In John 12:24, Jesus was, of course, foreshadowing his death, the fruit of salvation it would produce and the fruit that his life in us would produce. Death brings Life. Spiritual transformation is foremost an act of God’s grace. But sometimes there are things in my life that can distract me or deter me from experiencing his life being fully formed in me. If that is to change, something has to die. Yes, something has to die so that Life can spring forth.
So I’ve been asking myself these days–What in my life needs to die? What do I hold on to, engage in, obsess about, that regularly seems to prevent Christ from fully living in and through me? I want God to reveal these to me so I can, with his help, put them to death or at least begin to surrender them to him. He has been putting his finger on a few of these areas in my life. I suspect that for many of these things, this “putting to death” will be a daily occurrence!
Likewise, I’ve asked myself–What nurtures Christ’s life in me? What helps nurture spiritual transformation? Romans 12:2 says, … be transformed by the renewing of your mind… Transformation happens by renewing our minds with God’s thoughts. As we are transformed more and more into the image of Christ, he produces fruit in and through us. I want to tend and nurture this, so I am committing to begin “renewing my mind” by memorizing a short passage of Scripture and some other key verses during Lent (and hopefully beyond!).
What about you? As you spend time in reflection during these days, is there an attitude, action or behaviour you actually need to “put to death” so that you respond more readily to Christ and his life can be formed more completely in you? What would nurture Christ’s life in you? Scripture memorization, joining a Bible Study, loving, serving? May God bless you as you seek him more fully during this season.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I long to have your Life fully formed in me. Show me what needs to be put to death in my life and what needs to be nourished for that to happen so that your glory can be revealed through my life. Amen
Contributed by Mandy Trask