“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”.
Before Jesus uttered the words above He said in verse 23 “The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified”. We go on to learn that before this can happen He must first die and be buried, only then can come forth the power of the Resurrection. Similarly in order for us to be able to partake in a future Resurrection in Christ we too had to die, be buried and rise again (Rom 6:3-6). This was of course a supernatural work performed by the Holy Spirit, the outward demonstration of which was our baptism. We can however read further into the text. If we are willing to die to self, we too can bring forth much fruit, that is to say the Holy Spirit can, if we allow Him to reign in our life. He is able and willing to fill us to the point of overflowing, but in order for Him to do this we must first be broken by Him. Jesus was broken for us, are we prepared to be broken for Him?
What does it mean to be broken before God?
Certainly the word itself does not sound very appealing, it conjures up images of pain and weakness. But it is a very necessary process if we are to live a life empowered by the Holy Spirit. Brokenness is coming to the point where we stop wrestling with ourselves and more to the point, we stop wrestling with God (Genesis 32). It is that place where we anguish over our sin, where we understand the magnitude of our sin before a holy God and our inability to live righteously unless He is in the driving seat. Finally we say “enough Lord, Thy will be done!” This is the essence of brokenness – dying to self. This is not a one-off event but something we must do each and every day. The hard outer shell of who we are, our emotion, will and thoughts need to be broken and bent to the point where they are in line with God’s will. Think of a wild, untamed horse. This magnificent creature has so much potential but it will remain untapped until it is broken by its master. The potential that lies within each of us, the unlimited power of the Holy Spirt, will remain dormant in us unless we allow ourselves to be broken by our Master.
“He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal”. “The sense is, that whoever is so in love with this present temporal life, as to be anxiously careful of it, and takes all precautions to secure it; rather than to expose it to any danger, chooses to deny the faith of Christ, and desert his cause and interest; as such an one shall not long enjoy this life, so he shall come short of an eternal one” (Gill). Living for self in this life is not just unwise, it will most likely be fatal; “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36). When we come to know Jesus as our Lord and Saviour we undergo a paradigm shift in terms of how we view this life, we see it for what it truly is, a vapour that appears for a short time and then vanishes away. Jesus wants us to live our life for His glory, what’s more He will reward us for going so. “he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal” conveys to us the truth that this world is not our home, we shouldn’t feel at home in this world, we are merely sojourners passing through. Furthermore by dying and rising again with Christ through the new birth we receive the gift of eternal life. The American missionary Jim Elliott spoke wisely when he said “he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose”. Brothers and sisters may the coming week be marked by a desire in all of us to walk more closely with God, to allow Him to break and prune us as He see fits so that we may be conformed to the image of Jesus. If we are willing to die to self then Holy Spirit can use us for His glory, there is no limit to what He can do to a life that is fully surrendered to Him.