Why I’m Not Skinny Yet
Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24
For the last several years, I’ve been about 20 pounds overweight. I used to be a lot heavier, and I’ve lost considerable weight, but I’ve not quite been able to get where I want to be. It isn’t that I don’t want to lose the weight. I’d like to be skinnier, but I’ve still got an appetite that tells me to eat a few handfuls of chocolate chips every night. You may wonder why I even have chocolate chips in the house in the first place, and you’d be right to ask. The problem is that I’ve refused to do what it takes to be successful. I want to be skinnier, but so far, I’ve been unwilling to make the painful sacrifices it takes to get there.
This is the principle Jesus taught in today’s passage. In the story, he met those who were attracted by his miraculous works. They were fascinated, but Jesus wasn’t a performer looking for fans. He was the savior of the world, seeking those who truly wanted eternal life. Using the metaphor of a seed, he said that to find the new life, the old one must fall to the ground and die. Then, and only then, could the new one grow.
In my addiction, I wanted sobriety. I hated my life and I longed for things to be different, but I knew the truth that Christ taught. To find recovery the old life had to die, and I knew how painful that was going to be. I knew I’d have to confess and go to treatment. I knew how horrible it was going to be to shine God’s blazing light of truth into the darkness of my lies. And I wasn’t wrong. It was terribly painful. The death of the old life was miserable which is why I refused to do it for so long. Now, in recovery, I’ll readily admit it was more than worth it, but at the time, I feared the death of the old life.
This is where a lot of us find ourselves in our faith. We sort of want it. We think God is a good idea, but we’re not quite ready to surrender control. Our dilemma, as Jesus defined it, is that we cannot find new life in Christ until we choose to daily abandon our way to follow his.