Every spring when the tulips push through the sod and burst into bloom, I remember a conversation I had with my children several years ago.
We planted tulip bulbs in the fall, and a few weeks later, one of the children asked, “Why are the flowers not coming up?” They expected to see quick results.
“The bulbs have to die first so the flowers can live,” I explained. “It’s just like living for God.”
It took some explaining, but I like to think that by the time I was done, it made some sense to them. This concept of death to one’s self is hard for us to understand.
We want to obey God, but we don’t want to die completely to ourselves.
We want the flowers, the fruit, and the fragrance, but we want them without the sacrifice.
The trouble with our normal approach is that we won’t produce the fruit without the sacrifice.
We won’t exude the fragrance without being crushed.
We want the results now instead of waiting for the proper season. Yet, loving, obeying, and thus dying to self is a lifelong process.
It never stops!
It has to keep happening – every day. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could learn this once and be done with it?!
Choosing death to self now means life for eternity. It means loving Jesus, walking in His footsteps, and obeying His commandments, every single day. In time, the God-honoring choices we make will bear the fruit of goodness and righteousness in our lives.
When the Israelites were free from slavery in Egypt, God told them, “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” [NIV]
I don’t think God was just talking about the here and now. He wasn’t talking about choosing between broccoli or asparagus at lunch. He wasn’t talking about the decision to drive a Ford or a Chevy.
He was talking about the choices we make now that affect tomorrow.
He was talking about the choices that affect generations to come.
He was especially talking about the choices we make that affect our eternity.
Every day we get to choose. It never stops.
What does it really mean to choose Life?! Do you know?