There can be no resurrection without death.

I saw that truth this past winter. It was a harsh winter season. We had two major sleet storms in two and a half weeks. Rare, for this part of south Louisiana. Everything was frozen deep. Even the hardy plants.

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There are the plants that should die back each winter, but haven’t. The past few winters have been mild, tropical even. These plants have become overgrown. Until this winter. Deep freezes, three and four day long freezes, killing plants.

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And now, winter turns to spring. New life slowly emerges from the brown, dried, dead plants. I have been clearing away dead leaves. Chopping dead shrubs, pruning dead branches. After I move one pile of dead debris, I see the tiniest spot of green at the lowest part of the plant. I prune dead branches and see green wood near the base. Death, then resurrection.

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The new growth that is sprouting in the plants looks heartier, and healthier than the old. The pink, purple and yellow of the flowers are vibrant, richer than in years past. They seem to be shouting “Look at me! I was dead, but now I’m alive again! Look how strong I have become!”

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John 12:24-25 (MSG)
“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.”

And so it needs to be in my life. I need to die to self. I need to be pruned, taking away all that does not bear fruit. I need to clean out the old dead stuff, and make room for Christ to live freely in me. To make room for resurrection.

When I give up the habit that takes me away from my relationship with Christ…when I take that bad thought captive…when I surrender fully to Christ, He can work in me.

Each time I die to self, Jesus lives more fully in me.

In Him, my sins were nailed to the cross. Without Him – without His death, burial and resurrection – there can be no new life for me. No new life for any of us.

Colossians 2:13-14 (TLB)
You were dead in sins, and your sinful desires were not yet cut away. Then He gave you a share in the very life of Christ, for He forgave all your sins, and blotted out the charges proved against you, the list of His commandments which you had not obeyed. He took this list of sins and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross.

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Like new growth spouting in the garden, my life is now deeper, richer, more vibrant. Dying to self brings new life, stronger than before. Death, then resurrection.

John 11:25-26 (NASB)
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

 

Photos by John Chauvin

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