And Jesus said …
“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.” Luke 9:23-24 (NASB)
Simple words … challenging Way …
Lose my life for His sake.
Take up my cross daily.
All … abode preparation …
Abide IN Me, and I IN you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide IN Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides IN Me and I IN him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing … My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. John 15:4-5,8 (NASB)
Abide IN Jesus … Abide IN Jesus … Abide IN Jesus!
Jesus abides IN me … Jesus abides IN me … Jesus abides IN me!
Then I bear much fruit.
The Father is glorified.
And the world sees proof positive that I am a disciple of Jesus.
But there are times in my life when I obviously do not bear much fruit … the Father is not glorified … and there is nary a hint of me being a disciple of Jesus.
I came across (OK, that makes it seem a bit too coincidental) this passage of Scripture in of all places … a work of fiction. And the Spirit will not let me forget it until I connect the dots …
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. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. John 12:24-26 (NASB)
Perhaps … no doubt … there are times when I love my life and am more interested in protecting and preserving my grain of wheat than in dying to self. And yet … and yet … without dying to self, there will be little or no fruit … the answer to my ‘Why?’ question …
In the words of John the Baptist, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
Dying to myself … that is a daily discipline … and God the Vinedresser (John 15:1) will prune and prepare me to bear much fruit (John 15:2,4,5) IN Jesus the Vine.
For we are His workmanship, created IN Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (NASB)
Thank you Lord … may your will be done!