There is, in nature, a natural phenomenon that occurs every year. Yes, the seasons change from winter to spring, spring to summer, summer to autumn, and so on cyclically. But it's the transition from summer to autumn that somehow strikes me as nothing short of miraculous. The leaves of the trees, as they are painted in a myriad of colors, ranging from bright red, to auburn, to burnt orange to soft brown, are actually in the process of dying. The leaves that so beautifully arrayed the trees were actually preparing themselves for death, and to fall to the ground. We are styled as trees, are we not? And though the tree itself is not dying, it does shed some of it’s adornments to make way for new life to be produced. It is not for the leaf to stubbornly refuse to leave the tree, nor for the tree to hold on to the previous springs foliage, it is in the trees best interest to shed the old, and prepare to make room for the new.
My encouragement today, first to myself, and hopefully to you is that there is a beauty in dying out to yourself, and letting Christ reign in your life. There is a benefit, and in some way even a pleasure when you truly allow yourself to die and let Christ live. And the beauty of this death, will be/should be evident to those around you. So much so that they’ll look on your life, and remark at the beauty that Christ is working in it, although you may very well be in the process of dying. Philipians 3:7-14 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Secondly, death will produce new life. Our own potential, those things, dreams, goals and desires that God has placed in us to achieve, for his glory and his purposes can be revealed, I daresay can ONLY be revealed, when we allow ourselves to die. Death is, in fact, a requirement for releasing spiritual potential. Just as the leaves of the tree die from the branch to make room for new life in the spring, so we are to allow old things to die from our life and make room for new gifts, talents, callings, grace, new places in God, greater soul burdens and blessings. John 12: 23-25 And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
Lastly, new growth, development, increase, and the glory of God in and resting on our lives can be produced only as we decrease and mortify. In order to have God’s anointing, his favor, naturally and most definitely spiritually, we HAVE to suffer and die the death of the righteous. In other words as we decrease and mortify, Christ is increased and glorified, and that is where the real beauty lies. We find this opportunity to die to self in our test and trials, in our sufferings from day to day, in relinquishing our will to God, and in keeping an excellent spirit regardless of persecutions, hardships and disappointments.
I Peter 4:1-2 & 12-14 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
In Christ, our perfect example, abides the miracle of the resurrection. John 11:25-26 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
Death always precedes life. If I want life, increase, abundance, something must die first. My way, my will, my thoughts, opinions have to die to make room for Christ. The beauty, the glory in it all is that I am taking part in the suffering that Christ underwent. Therefore, when the Father looks from heaven to earth, he sees not me, but his son, whom he loves so much. It makes the suffering, and the dying, worth it. Be blessed! -JAL