Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dying first in order to grow

Good morning. This is a devotional for single adults from Parenting Solo, but the message also applies to single adults without children who may one day marry a single parent and be a step-parent. Feel Free to forward it to a friend.

Scripture: John 12:24-26a (The Message) (Jesus speaking:) “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.”If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me.”

Seeds must be planted in the ground in order for them to germinate and grow into a plant. In the ground, the seed receives the water and nutrients necessary to sprout out of a state of dormancy. Merriam Webster’s Dictionary s definition of germination is to “cause to sprout or develop.” Until that seed is planted, it cannot grow into something beautiful or edible. Otherwise, it just sits there, useless.

How do we apply this to our faith life? Remember, Jesus used parables to tell stories that were easily understood and discerned by the common people. Jesus was creating a new faith that was to be life-changing and not just rule-following and looking good on the outside. Jesus cares most about heart-change. That seed looks fine and dandy from the outside, but on the inside, it was made to sprout. If it isn’t planted and, essentially buried and dead, it can’t grow and develop into the plant it was designed to be.

We as people are the same way. If we followed the world’s ways or perhaps another religion that didn’t focus on love and grace (only Christianity), we have to first die to our old ways (buried in the ground) before we can receive God’s love and grace (water and nutrients from the soil). For many of us, that death was divorce. For me, it certainly was a wake-up call at age 35. I was at the height of my professional career, I was married, a home-owner and an active dad. I went to church on Sundays with my son, because that’s what good Baptists do. My life was miserable.

My faith life, however, was dormant. My divorce caused me to die to my old ways and look to God for new meaning and purpose for my life. My divorce was a wake-up call to who I could become through Christ Jesus. When I hit bottom, I chose to follow and serve Jesus. There I was, six feet under, lying in dark, cold, musty dirt. Things couldn’t have been worse. Suddenly, something started to happen. I started to grow! I found new meaning in my faith life, and it took leaving my old church to find a new church that would help me grow. My new church fed me in the ways of Jesus, and in time my branches reached out above the ground and started feeding others through my gifts of teaching and shepherding single parents. That new way of life could not have started had I not let go of my fears and let myself die to my old ways.

How does this apply to my life?

Today’s prayer: Lord, thank you for new growth. Thank you for the new life you have given me. Amen

Doug Mead
Parenting Solo

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Vol. 3, No. 171

This week’s reading plan can be found at http:/

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