“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal. (THE MESSAGE)
None of us finds the subject of dying very appealing. But the Christian faith sees it more positively for those in personal relationship with God through Jesus. This is because death actually leads to life. It does so in two ways, one literal and one metaphorical.
Jesus urges his followers to die in the metaphorical sense. If we “die” to our self-centered, ego driven way of life, we will actually discover a better sort of life. As long as we stubbornly cling to the notion that we know best and can live independently of Jesus, we can’t really enjoy the much superior sort of life he offers us. Not a serene, trouble-free life, but a life of purpose and a life that brings blessing to others.
But dying in the literal sense also brings life. If I die and have this faith relationship with God made possible by Jesus, I don’t stay dead. Just as Jesus died and rose again, so too will I and all who share that faith relationship. I can’t embrace the total reality of eternal life with God unless I die. So death which seemed like an ending, becomes in fact a new beginning.
If we truly want to live, we must be prepared to die, metaphorically and literally.