After one enters upon the narrow road of Christ they soon find out that their life changes. The life of a believer is filled with peace and an abiding presence of God’s Spirit, but there are aspects of this life that are diametrically opposed to the world’s standards.

To be successful as a business man, or in most occupations in this world, one must have acquired the skills and talents that are needed to do that job well. Some have climbed the ladder of success by promoting themselves or by swindling others in business deals, and by being ruthless in many of their relationships and dealings.

However, God asks his own to die to their own ambitions and to take on the life of being a servant. Just like the seed that is buried in the ground, it soon grows into a tall plant or tree. Those who have identified with Christ find that this death to self eventually leads to a new life in Him.

Their character and lifestyle which was at one time self-centered and selfish now is concerned about the needs of others, and not just themselves. In time, they begin to see value in the many trials that come their way. They then realize that God’s purposes are ingrained in them and that these are used so that they might be conformed into the image of God himself.

This process never ends, and yet, the peaceful fruit of righteousness is seen as one’s character produces the fruit of the Spirit. One finds out that acquiring the world’s goods is not as important to them anymore.

Moses had become great in the court of Pharaoh, but he was led out to the wilderness where the desert sands eventually shaped him into the deliverer for his people. All of those who have been used by God have found out that their life was not their own. They soon realize that their intellect and talents are nothing in the sight of God. They grew to be utterly dependent upon a relationship with the Father, and over time, then God turned their life around and used their gifts and abilities for Him, rather than for themselves.

According to the world’s standards, one strives to go forward and upwards in their pursuit of success. But the kingdom of God’s journey is the opposite. The believer must travel downwards in a continual cycle of dying to themselves. For in this process, up is down, just as the seed is buried in the ground.

24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24

20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Matt. 16:24-25

Stephen Hanson