THIS WEEK: Lead Me to the Cross…Plant a Seed…Find the Cross!
Gardening takes patience. Lots of it.
I planted a few pepper seeds about 3 weeks ago…I was ready to put new seeds in a couple starter containers that the shoots weren’t coming up. Only to see a couple little green things shoot up just yesterday.
But, by time those little seedlings produce a pepper, it’s probably another 8 weeks. It takes a long time for a seed to finally produce something. But when it does, it’s glorious. Those that don’t…well, not so glorious.
The ultimate glory of the seed is in what it produces. If it didn’t do anything (flowers or fruit) we probably wouldn’t plant the seed. But we plant the seed because we desire to see and enjoy what it produces.
The Lord is the same way. His glory is in what the Seed (Jesus) produces. Our Father in heaven sent Jesus to this earth to live, die and rise again. Yet it wasn’t just completing this work that was his purpose. Ultimately, he did all this to see his work reproduce and experience the fruit of that work.
What is the fruit of his work? Our lives changed by him in two specific ways. The first is this: We must die to this world and live for eternity. (Read tomorrow’s devotion for the second):
Just as Jesus went through the process of death that we might live, so we must also go through the process of death so that we might live…and not just physical death. Jesus put it this way in John 12:25:
The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
It’s a stark and harsh contrast. Yet just like Jesus couldn’t just “partially die” he had to fully die for the payment for sin to be sufficient. So God calls us to die to this world. Die to what our sinful, world focused desires want. Jesus said it this way in Matthew 16:25-26: For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
The answer, is there is no profit and no gain for loving this world and despising our connection with Jesus. The fruit of Jesus’ death in our lives is a complete trust and loyalty to him in our lives. It’s not that we can’t enjoy things of this world, but we can not live with our hearts fixated and satisfied by the things of this world.
The Apostle Paul described the change in Galatians 5:24-25 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
The same principle applies to us as Jesus applied to himself. If the seed falls to the ground and dies, it produces many seeds. If we are willing to let our sinful nature die, our Spirit driven nature will produce its fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22).
Truly the glory of God is seen when the Spirit of God produces faith and good fruit. Just like the glory of the seed is in the fruit it produces.
Apply: Evaluate the fruit you are producing. Does it indicate a loyalty, love and dedication to this world, or a loyalty, love and dedication to your Savior Jesus? Ask God to change your focus and love for this world to a focus and love for him.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank you for giving me a heart of faith that is able and willing to produce the fruit of faith. Forgive my love and loyalty to the world. Give me a stronger love and loyalty to you. AMEN.