Friday, October 23, 2015
Autumn Leaves and Dying to Self
Recently I read a devotional that made the observation that all the brilliant colored leaves of autumn are beautiful because the leaves are dying.1 When leaves are alive, they are green with chlorophyll and able to feed the tree through photosynthesis. The chlorophyll departs are they die, and the leave display the bright fall colors beneath.
The Christian life is all about dying. Jesus said that all who wish to be his disciple must take up their cross daily and follow him (Luke 9:23). This is a radical call to die to self-interest, since the cross was a gruesome instrument of torture and execution. In baptism, we are united with Christ in death and buried with him (Romans 6:4-5). Our life is no longer our own. We are dead and our life if hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). “I have been crucified with Christ,” writes Paul in Galatians 2:20. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”
Dying, however, is not bad news. Like the autumn leaves dying, our death to self is freeing and truly glorious. The more I decrease, the more ablaze I become with the brilliant color of Christ. Indeed, the more I die to self-focus, the more the genuine “I”—created in the image of God—can shine through.
This autumn as I have seen all the beautiful leaves, I have thought many times about dying to self so that God’s blazing light can shine through me. Am I ablaze in like them for God’s glory—brilliant in color as I die to myself?
1. Gregory Polan in Give us This Day (October 2015).
© 2015 Glenn E. Myers