“The soul’s pathway is always through death to life. The caterpillar cannot in the nature of things become the butterfly in any other way than by dying to the one life in order to live in the other. And neither can we.”
~ Hannah Whithall Smith, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life
It should come as no surprise that another of God’s principles is exactly opposite of what man thinks. In man’s eyes, we live life and then we die. In a man’s view, a difficult circumstance is often thought of as negative. But in God’s economy, life comes only after death. Joy comes even in the midst of a struggle.
Often times, we can’t be thankful for a blessing until we have gone without. Setbacks can be the birth of a new path to success. Maybe God is redirecting us. Refining us. Making us new.
Eternal life came because Jesus died on the cross, so we should not expect our own walk to be easy. Living a godly and holy life comes only after we die to our flesh. To our self-sufficiency. To our illusion of wisdom that comes from the life experiences we have in this physical body and world.
For it is written, I will baffle and render useless and destroy the learning of the learned and the philosophy of the philosophers and the cleverness of the clever and the discernment of the discerning; I will frustrate and nullify [them] and bring [them] to nothing. Where is the wise man (the philosopher)? Where is the scribe( the scholar)? Where is the investigator (the logician, the debater) of this present time and age? Has not God shown up the nonsense and the folly of this world’s wisdom? ~ 1 Corinthians 1:19-20
In nature, we see these principles played out over and over again. A plant has life only after the seed is dead and buried in the ground. Spring leaves come following the winter death of the tree. A butterfly will never take flight and ultimately die if you help it out of a cocoon (remove the struggle it needs to physically prepare its wings to fly).
What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly. ~ Richard Bach
Jesus told us that “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 10:39.
I bet losing your life here in this verse doesn’t just mean the physical stuff… but the ego – the hopes and dreams we have – the idols that keep us bound to earthly pursuits. Can you sense the greater message in loss? A life lost, a struggle lost, a world in need. He wants to be the one who fills those needs. Anything else is idolatry.
To what do you need to die today? Your agenda? Your wisdom? Being in control?
While it may seem a very difficult thing to do, know that on the other side, God awaits with abundant life and blessing for your obedience. He’s seeking hearts turned towards Him. He’s the daddy waiting to hand you a string of real pearls if you can only give up your precious fake ones.
“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
Credits: Photo by @sprittibee