Dying to Live
Scripture Reading — Matthew 16:21-28
“Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” — Matthew 16:25
Have you ever had a dentist do a root canal on one of your teeth? I’ve learned a few things from having three root canals done. With a tiny drill the dentist cleans out all the toxins in an infected tooth, right down to the roots. And then the dentist refills all the drilled-out areas to restore the tooth to pain-free wholeness.
The life of Christian discipleship aims to follow that pattern every day. To surrender to Jesus is to “die to live,” giving over to him our sin, our wounds, and all our baggage so that he may refill us with new life through the Holy Spirit. It’s much more complex than a root canal, and the results are literally life-changing.
The call to find our lives by losing them is a bit hard to grasp, though. This doesn’t come naturally to us. But as we reflect on this theme this month, we will see that dying to live is a journey of joy, gratitude, and grace.
In a talk she gave on worship, author Marva Dawn said, “Imagine if every believer prayed before a worship service, ‘Lord, please use this worship to show me again how to die for you.’”
I did try to imagine it, and I pictured communities in which the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, self-control, and more—could grow in abundance as toxins were cleaned out. That’s the fruit of a community that is dying to live.
Jesus, thank you for inviting me into full life with you. Help me to see what you need to clean out as I live with you. Amen.