Photo By Silvestri Matteo

This morning I was reading in John 15 where Jesus is bidding his farewell to his disciples. He says something that deeply challenges me and makes me wonder how much I truly do love other people.

He says, “Greater love has no on than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

We know this is a foreshadowing of what is to come, that he would willingly die on the cross. This death allowed for new life. This death made a way for reconciliation across all of creation. This death was not death, but it was life and life to the full.

So much of my American Christianity is not shaped this way. I avoid pain, discomfort, and death. I avoid it not only in the physical form but also in the spiritual and emotional form. To love well requires a person to metaphorically die to themselves. A person must be willing to set aside their rights and passions and desires for another. As a person dies to themselves they find that they are finally, ultimately, and truly alive.

Amy Carmichael calls this the “Divine Paradox.”

The great paradox of Christianity is that life is found in death and that death cannot destroy life.

This statement made by Jesus follows after a little discourse on him being vine and his disciples the branches. For branches to grow in a healthy way, they need to be pruned. In a very real way, they must die. In so doing they bear more fruit.

This summer, I pruned my roses three times. And each time the roses bloomed anew. Death brought life.

The same is true of us. We must die so that we may truly live.

Are you willing die to yourself so that you may experience life and life to the full?

Lay Your Life Down was originally published in The Subversive Journey on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

from The Subversive Journey—-bbc765b79ec5—4