“What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars…
“So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body…
“Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven… For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass:
‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’
‘O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?'” 1 Corinthians 15:36b-44,49,53-55
While the prospect of death looms dark and unappealing, there are days we struggle to be released from repeated failure, temptation, and weakness of will and body. Our Maker has placed eternity in our hearts, so it is in our wiring to long for more and better, to grapple with constraints of flesh and time, and to desire the ‘not yet’ restoration of unsullied beauty. For now, we know simply in part, and dimly, but we desire what is yet to be. (Ecclesiastes 3:11; Romans 8:19-23; 1 Corinthians 13:9-10,12 ; Revelation 21:1-5)
We will be changed. We will see Jesus face to face. But death must come first. We are kernels of wheat called to lay down our lives so Christ lives through us. One day, death and all its attending fear and pain and grief will be swallowed up in eternal, never-ending life. This is our sure hope as Christians- we were made for glory. (John 15:13; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; Galatians 2:20; 1 John 3:2)
Knowing this to be true, how are we to live, and die, today? Would we see, as Amy Carmichael coined, in every temptation, every opportunity, every experience of life, a chance to die to self? This frees us to live to Christ, and for the sake of others. Are our hours and efforts sown for this purpose?
“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly,.. unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:23-24
Lord, teach me to die to self and live to You in every aspiration, impulse, plan, and action. May I honor You as I draw closer to the life that is to be.