Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
- John 12:23-26
“Today we have substituted doctrinal belief for personal belief, and that is why so many people are devoted to causes and so few are devoted to Jesus Christ. People do not really want to be devoted to Jesus, but only to the cause He started. Jesus Christ is deeply offensive to the educated minds of today, to those who only want Him to be their Friend, and who are unwilling to accept Him in any other way. Our Lord’s primary obedience was to the will of His Father, not to the needs of people— the saving of people was the natural outcome of His obedience to the Father. If I am devoted solely to the cause of humanity, I will soon be exhausted and come to the point where my love will waver and stumble. But if I love Jesus Christ personally and passionately, I can serve humanity, even though people may treat me like a ‘doormat.’ The secret of a disciple’s life is devotion to Jesus Christ, and the characteristic of that life is its seeming insignificance and its meekness. Yet it is like a grain of wheat that ‘falls into the ground and dies’— it will spring up and change the entire landscape (John 12:24).”
- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
Two days in a row of Jesus saying ‘hate.’ In this case, Jesus says that we should ‘hate’ our own lives. This is not a command to commit suicide, but a command to be willing to give up the worldly life and follow Him. In hating our ‘life,’ we might sacrifice comfort, free time, etc., but mostly we should sacrifice pursuit of worldly things in order to follow the King of kings.
After reading in Os Guinness’ book, Fool’s Talk, when he mentioned that we live in the ‘How To’ Age, I feel fortified in my belief that we should be vigilant in only one thing, following Jesus. Give people a to-do list, and they can follow Jesus. Without the road map, to-do list, or a step-by-step procedure, people get lost and lose interest. Jesus is the goal, and the help in getting there.
Even though Chambers just saw the beginnings of this ‘How to’ age when he said that we are devoted to causes. In our causes, we can become busy. We might feel an emptiness in our hearts. We fill that emptiness with a cause. As long as we fill that emptiness with busyness for the cause, we feel okay. When the cause’s activities are cancelled one weekend due to bad weather, we are lost, alone, and empty. The walls start closing in on us.
But ah! I have the solution! Another cause, a back-up cause in case the first cause experiences another cancellation.
But rather than either of these causes, look to Jesus. Jesus can fill the emptiness. You will never be alone again. You will never be lost. Jesus is not only the One who goes with you, He is the destination as well.
In the end, you may end up doing the same thing that you did before. But now, you are doing it with the love of Jesus coming out from you – so filled with God’s Love that it overflows. Before you were doing it to find something to fill the void within – the void that is there, ready to be filled with Jesus.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.