24Truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25Whosoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. - John 12:24-26
We live in a culture that is selfish and self-absorbed, maybe like no other culture in human history and with more material abundance than ever before. Yet all of this material abundance has not resulted in an abundance of happiness. The January 1998 issue of Entrepreneur carried an article by a historian from UCLA, who wrote, “Although the gross domestic per capita product in the United States has more than doubled in the past fifty years, there has been absolutely no improvement in the percentage of happy people. The more we have, the more we want. The evidence shows that this is what the world thinks.”
Is this what you think? Do you think that showering yourself with luxuries will make you a happier and more fulfilled person? It won’t. You’ll end up glutted on goods just like everyone else. If you want to be really happy, if you want to experience true satisfaction in your life, then there is only one thing you can do: die to self and live for God.
Jesus taught about this in John 12:24-25. Jesus gives a little gardening lesson here to teach a profound truth: a plant doesn’t grow unless a seed dies first. And we don’t produce godly fruit in our lives unless we die to own goals, dreams, desires, and ambitions.
It is a sad thing, but many people who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ have not gotten very far on this matter of death to self. So let me ask you the question that the text forces us to ask ourselves: Do you love your life? Do you love your dreams for tomorrow? Do you love your plans for your own financial security? Do you love your little house and your car and your vacation plans? Do you love those things? Because the Scripture says if you love your life, you’re losing it! It is slipping away, bit by bit, like sand through an hourglass. You say, “Well how can I find my life?” Let it go. Lay it down. Spend yourself in fervent commitment to Christ, and then you will find your life.
I am calling upon you as a follower of Jesus Christ to give Him your all. It is only when you give up the search and turn it all over to Him that you find what you were looking for along. Dying to self can be a scary thought, but it’s the price of true happiness.
Prayer: Father, I get so caught up in the things of this life that I don’t realize they become my “loves.” Forgive me for placing anything above You in my priorities. Keep showing me when I love anything more than You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.