Well…for those of you serving in countries which have few seasons, I hope talking about Fall and pumpkin pie and apple-picking does not make you too homesick. Ok, I won’t talk about the food, but here in Maryland, Fall has begun painting the tips of branches, and the colors are getting a little bolder, a little deeper into the trees every day. I think what amazes me most is that death is the cause of the beauty. The trees remind me that there is a unique and precious beauty in dying to oneself, and that surrender can be truly graceful.
Dying to self. What does that even mean? Well basically, it means letting go of my will and choosing God’s will. At some point we all will face that choice very consciously—am I going to do things my way or God’s way? In fact, we probably have a thousand chances a day to answer this question, whether or not we are aware of it. Am I going to try to fix and control everything and everyone around me so that it makes sense to me? Or am I going to surrender the circumstances and people around me into God’s hands and trust Him to take care of me and His work in His way and time? Are my decisions going to reflect my need to please people, or the secure love of my Father overflowing in who I am and what I do?
Like a tree that lets go of every single leaf to face the winter storms with bare branches, dying to self is choosing to believe by faith that Jesus is still at work, still alive in me, even in cold darkness. And when the spring comes, when our branches are heavy with blossoms and fruit, we understand that the Spirit’s life-giving work in us could only come after death—death to self. The blossoms and fruit are incredible, but the beauty of autumn is in the faith that it takes to believe that dying to self will be worth it to have Jesus’ life lived out in me.
“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal. 2:20 (NLT)
Whether it’s a temptation, bitterness, a painful trial, or just a struggle to be content, there is always hope in dying to self and asking Jesus to take over. The battle can be tough, but God is stronger, and He can hear the faintest cry for help. He has a very special place in His heart for Autumn-Hearts.
*Twice a month, we send out a short devotional to our volunteers. This was written by Andrea Keele and sent out on October 20, 2014.