by Rob Dunne
Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. John 12:24
Two years ago, my wife Kellie and I planted a few sunflower seeds in the front of our condo. Thinking I was going to work up a sweat digging into the ground, I was disappointed to learn that they only required an inch or two of soil to grow. Adding fertilizer in the early stages provided them with strong roots. Blazing sunlight that would ordinarily scorch a flower was just right for the appropriately named sunflowers. Daily watering also nourished the flowers and allowed them to grow tall. The death of the seed allowed the flower to come to life.
Like growing sunflowers, things in God’s economy occur in stages. In Genesis, God interacts with a man named Abram. He tells Abram to leave his family and travel to a land that He will show him. Over several years, God reveals His plans to Abram. Ultimately, God changes his name from Abram to Abraham. God then discloses that Abraham will be the father of many nations. The life and death of Jesus Christ ultimately fulfilled this promise.
Every person ever born bears the mark of original sin committed by Adam and Eve. Jesus, however, was conceived by the Holy Spirit. As a result, He was born free from that original sin. He lived a perfect, sinless life and fulfilled all of the requirements of the Jewish law. Jesus took the punishment for our sins and shed His blood to cover them. He was buried in a tomb and raised to new life. Like a sunflower seed, His death and resurrection transformed Jesus into new creation.
If our heart’s desire is to become more like Jesus, we must die to our former selves. Who we once were is symbolically buried. The Word of God fertilizes the soil of our hearts, giving us strong roots. The light of God’s love causes darkness to flee and nourishes our souls. Jesus the living water sustains us and helps us grow tall in our faith. These things bring incredible transformation to our lives.
Father, I thank you that you love us too much to leave us alone. Your heart’s desire is to mold and shape us into the image of your Son Jesus. Take away the fear of dying to self and give us a glimpse of the men and women you know we will become. As a loving gardener, remove the weeds in our lives and feed us with the wisdom of your Word. Like a sunflower, help us to stand tall in our faith so that the world will see all of the amazing things you have done in and through us. Amen.