“I assure you: Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces a large crop. The one who loves his life will lose it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:24-25) “For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” (Romans 14:7-9)
The paradox of life says that it is only in dying that life is discovered. So many spend lifetimes and fortunes trying to find life and peace and significance only to discover that the more the reach for it, the more elusive it becomes. Their frustration can take them to cynicism. Those who actually do find life and peace and significance, however, find it only as a by-product, a result of a dying to self, self-centeredness, and self-interest. They discover that the more they give of themselves, the more fulfilled they become, the more alive they are.
This is a life principle paradox, but the concept itself does not produce ultimate significance, defined as “eternal life.” That comes only when the principle is practiced with regard to a personal faith walk with the Lord in the context of His grace. His grace toward us provides eternal life when we respond with personal faith, which may be described as a dying to self-effort. The deeper we move into this faith walk of giving our lives away, we begin only then to explore the depths of the meaning of eternal life.
Lord, May we die to self today and each day, and live unto You. Amen.