Where’s the seed?

Have you ever looked at a large tree, and wondered where the seed went? It’s a strange question, but consider the absence of the seed. An oak tree doesn’t have a special commemorative plaque on it – “To the acorn that started it all, 50 years ago.” Nope, the acorn is nowhere to be seen. No, only the life of the acorn remains. And the giving of that life meant the ending of that acorn’s existence.

This idea is very similar to the illustration of our Lord Jesus. He said, “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.” – John 12:24

Imagine if someone planted a seed, but the seed decided that it didn’t want to give up it’s existence. He said, “I’m a seed, I’m a good thing. I don’t want to change. I don’t want to die. Why should I loose my existence or position. Imagine, if all around the world, seeds made this decision. (Ignoring the fact that such things have no personality or decision making ability) Think about the consequences! We would have no food the next year. World chaos would ensue.

But literal seeds are not the issue here. Our Lord was not talking about corn, wheat, or acorns. The next verse said, “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.” He was talking about us. Our lives.

Here’s the illustration. In order for you to fulfill your purpose in life, you must give up your identity. You must surrender your rights. You must refuse to follow the world’s calling to pridefully commemorate yourself. As Jesus did, we must give our lives. Jesus laid down His life. As a result, His life now lives in each and every person who accepts Him.

Now it’s our turn. We can’t lay down our lives “exactly” as He did.He’s not asking us to erect physical crosses in our back yard, and go die on them. But we can lay down our lives, our passions, our will, and our personal interests, in the interest of serving and glorifying Him. Yes, we must die, just like that acorn “dies.”

But to lay down your life, and to die to yourself, is the only way to truly live.

An acorn that refuses to die, eventually rots and becomes useless. It is the same with the Christian life. If it is not given completely over to the Father’s control, if the life inside is not allowed to be given out for fear of losing personal identity- its usefulness is limited.

I challenge you, give up your life- in pursuit of glorifying God. Just like there is no limit to the ultimate offspring an acorn can produce if it gives it’s life. There is no limit to the spiritual fruit you can ultimately have a hand in, if you will only fully surrender your life to God, and truly begin to live.

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” – Luke 9:23

Enjoy your life, compliments of God

You ever spend time preparing something for someone. You take special pains to make it special, but when you give it to someone, they are like, "Oh." And they just take it. You may have thought, "How rude! How ungrateful!" We may take offense, but honestly, that is what we do to God everyday.

God has given so much to us, He made this world, gave us friends and family, oxygen(yes, oxygen), food , clothes, and a beautiful earth, and everyday we wake up and expect it all to be here. This isn’t a respectful nor grateful way to live. I would encourage you, give God thanks for what He’s done.

1 Chronicles 16:8 says, "Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people." Won’t you give thanks to God today? Whatever comes your way, remember, what God has given you is much greater than the trials or troubles He has allowed in your life. And even those are allowed for your benefit! (Rom 8:28)

Give God the praise in everything!

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Doing the hard thing, and shutting your mouth

There are some people who just never shut their mouths. They are proud and rude and they don’t let others have a say. As Christians, we should never exemplify that lifestyle. But even if we don’t, we can still be in error. God’s Word gives some incredible instruction on speaking, instruction we would all do well to heed.

James 1:19 says, "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:" I know for myself, I am always ready to speak. Maybe I am typing this devotional for myself, but I would ask you to consider yourself. Are you slow to speak? Are you ready to listen to others, or do you cut them off to voice your own opinion?

I think if we are honest with ourselves, most of us would say that we need help in this area. I would challenge you, ask the Holy Spirit to develop humility in your heart. Ask Him to teach you to be slow to speak and swift to hear. If you listen more, you may learn things you would never have learned by talking. And if you talk less, you may refrain from saying things you shouldn’t.

"In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise." – Proverbs 10:19

Are you out of your mind?

Have you ever met someone that just thinks they are all that. They’re stuck up and prideful and look at you like you are nothing. It seems that there will always be people who look at others like they are less important, but we are not called to examine the hearts of others. We are called to examine our own heart.

Romans 12:3 says, "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." I think this verse is pretty straightforward. Paul is telling us that we should mind how we think of ourselves.

I would invite you to examine yourself. How you view yourself verses others. Are you easily offended? Do you think of yourself deserving certain things? Do you ever find yourself saying, "How dare they . . ." when someone does something unkind to you? I would submit to you that Christ suffered much on our behalf and yet He "opened not his mouth." Christ humbled Himself to save your soul. Is it too much to ask that you humble yourself and show Christ’s spirit to others?

Paul’s exhortation in this verse is that we think soberly. The literal translation of "soberly" means "be in your right mind." It’s kinda funny, Paul is almost saying that when we harbor pride in our hearts, we are out of our minds.

I would encourage you, get in your right mind. Realize how much Christ has done for you. Remember how unworthy you were and are, and think soberly. If we humble ourselves, God even promises that He will exalt us.

"Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:" – 1 Peter 5:5b-6