I am having a lot of fun planting my garden this year. It is very satisfying to turn a plot of weeds and dead plants into new life. We have had really great spring weather here, warm and rain at the right time. So my little baby seedlings are sprouting up everywhere and thriving. I’m so excited to see them grow! But I remember that for those babies to grow and thrive, there first had to be death. The plant from last year had to die in order to make new seeds that have the potential for life.
We have been doing a study at church called Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman. He says that many Christians just want to be fans of Jesus and not really followers. Fans really like Jesus and think He is great, but they don’t want to give up their lives to Him.
I completely understand how that feels. It is very scary to give up your life! Especially if you are not sure you can trust the Person to whom you are giving it. But as we learn that Jesus is good and righteous and loves us beyond our imagining, then we can begin to trust and give ourselves over to Him.
In his book, Kyle refers a lot to the verse “Then [Jesus] said…“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Lk 9:23) This verse and others that talk about dying to yourself have always bothered me. They seem so harsh, and so I would try my best to avoid them!
But this study has been pushing us to look at them. What I have found out is that when I am trying to live for myself and to get what I think I want, to try and force life to work out according to my will, then I live filled with anxiety, the feeling that things are wrong, discontent, and even depression. But when I choose each day to tell God that I give my life up to Him and want live for His will, amazingly I find peace. I find contentment. I don’t have to try to force anything to work out. I just simply follow God, and His will is done. And whatever happens to me is under His control and therefore is ok. I’m relieved from anxiety and instead experience peace and even joy, because I am doing what I was created to do: follow God. To try to live any other way is going against the grain of who I was created to be.
So like my little baby plants who experience new life this Spring as a result of death in the Fall, I also need to die to my old self so that I may experience the new life that Jesus offers me now. I hope my babies will grow and thrive as i hope each of us will grow and thrive as we give our lives up to God each day!