23 Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. 24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. 25 Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. 26 Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.
After a particularly bad day, you might expect that I would come back to this verse thinking that at least I have the “not loving my life” part down. When my mind travels down the well-worn paths that all seem to lead to the same dark place, when it seems like I will never stop hurting the ones I love, when it seems like every apology is stale and insincere and every act of love is rote, those are the times I think the world would be better off without me. Stuck in those ruts, I obsess over the hurt I cause and the imagined judgments of others, and ultimately, I’m really doing the opposite of caring nothing for my life.
Whether I obsess over how great life is or over how great I think it should be (and isn’t), the fact remains that I’m still obsessing. And more to the point, in those moments I’m really putting my hope in this world or some alternate version of it where I imagine I would be content. It all adds up to a lot of chasing and pining after some idealized picture of life in this world, and not a lot of following after Jesus.
I had an epiphany the other day when I realized that the more I try to hold on to this world, the more I end up withdrawing from it and from my mission as the image of Christ. The more I try to find the place where everyone likes me and where I belong, the more I find myself walled off.
Oh, if only I could just let go! I pray, God, let me invest in You at the expense of everything else, even life itself. Let me decrease, that You would increase in my thoughts and heart. I want to be rid of this constant self-consciousness, because it is the antithesis of God-consciousness. I pray for a vision of life where I truly care nothing for myself and what others think of me, but see only Jesus and His work, His glory, and His boundless love for others.
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