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. (John 12:24)
Winter is coming–very slowly here in Texas, I must add, but it is coming nonetheless. All the life that came with Spring all through the Summer is slowing down. The leaves are turning brown and falling off the trees; the bugs have quit buzzing around; the air is cold and the nights are quiet. It seems that everything is dying.
Seasons are an essential part of our ecosystem. It seems that even death has its purpose: the leaves from the trees, the dead bugs, will nurture the soil and add nutrients that it expended during the green seasons. They come, like clockwork, every year and in every part of the earth. It doesn’t matter whether or not I like the cold of Winter, or the heat of Summer; if I feel more energized and serene during Spring. It’s inevitable–the seasons will happen, and if for some reason they don’t, it would be detrimental to the enviroment.
The same principle occurs in our spiritual lives as well, and is just as important and essential to our walk with God, and our walk in the world among His people. Here, we see the principle of the cross–death, burial, resurrection–God’s way, God’s design and process for life.
I thought, when I was younger, that I had attained something, that I was special. Sure, I loved Jesus very much. But what I wasn’t aware of was how much more I loved my own ego. I spoke boldly about the cross, dying to self, serving God’s people and the people of the world. And God even blessed some of my endeavors. I honestly believed I was more gifted than most others and that I was more spiritually mature than most my age at the time (early 20’s). I thought I was prepared for the crisis that several older and established brothers in Christ had warned me about.
Then the crisis came in 2013. I was utterly lost and clueless as to what to do.
My ego failed me. I had built my life and my walk around that ego, thinking it was Jesus, and in certain places in my life even replaced Jesus. I was worshiping my emotions and when they were stripped from me during a serious bout of clinical depression, I had a complete mental break-down (I’ve learned this now after looking back).
Finally, after several tough, long years, I threw up my hands in surrender. I finally came to a point where I could no longer have any faith in myself or my emotions. Indeed, that process is still going…very much so. But I finally admitted defeat. I finally died and gave up.
There is something different about how I view things. Humility has taken the place of pride. My ego, though can still rear up to show his ugly face on a daily basis, is exposed–he has been found out.
In this loss of ego and loss of pride, I have found grace abundantly. I have found that serving God isn’t a vessel for the building up of my ego. We don’t serve God to get something out of it. Instead, we serve Him so that HE can get what He wants. And like with any good Father, when we please Him, He pleases us. He gives peace, honor, encouragement, forgiveness, and much more.
Like when Jacob wrestled with God and was wounded for life but thereafter was named Israel and became the father of God’s holy people, so will we walk wounded by God (if we choose to wrestle, fight, and resist Him), yet blessed and truly effective.
Update: The Mark of Brokenness in Jonah (Part 1) – http://wp.me/sPjhO-jonah
This post is the first of a little mini-series I’m going to do. As I have stated in my previous post, I’ve spent the last few years trying to run from God–trying to avoid His process, His way. I’ve spent some time lately thinking about two different people from the Bible. One is Jonah, the other Jacob. I’m going to enlarge on my thoughts of these two men in the coming days. Each need a post to themselves. Consider this post a preface to these coming posts.