The following is an excerpt from Dr. John’s book, HOW TO PRODUCE ABUNDANCE IN YOUR LIFE: The Kingdom Secrets Jesus Taught His Disciples. Follow this link to obtain your copy of HOW TO PRODUCE ABUNDANCE IN YOUR LIFE today.
We are now seed which must be planted. Jesus was the seed, now He has made many brethren. We are just like Him. Now we must follow Him. He said, “Where the master is, there the servant will be also.” (John 12:26). We must follow Him to the cross and into the grave. We follow Him to the planting of our life in order to reap an abundant harvest. We are now the seed that must be planted, “Unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone.” It bears no fruit, produces no harvest, has no productivity, no multiplication, just one lonely dormant seed with no joy or victory. Joy comes from looking for a harvest. Joy does not come by consumerism or from getting everything you want from God. Joy comes from the promise of the harvest.
Paul said, “For the joy that was set before Him.” There is no joy in being a materialistic person, or a consumer Christian. We were created to reproduce, to multiply. Until you see the harvest there is no joy. Because your life was planted, you have an expectation of the harvest coming in your life. You have joy!
There are Christians who are born again, who are even filled with the Spirit, but who remain dormant. They are unplanted seeds. John 12:25 describes the process of death: “He who loves his life will lose it; he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me let him follow Me and where I am there My servant will be also. Anyone who serves Me will My Father honor.” I want God’s honor. That honor is harvest multiplication. It is the productive life.
THE SEED MUST DIE
Jesus began describing the process of death by saying, “Unless a kernel of wheat falls in the ground and dies it remains alone, but if it dies, it’s going to bring forth much fruit.” Next He explained how this happens. All four of the Gospel writers were led to explain this principle. When God talks a lot about something it’s important, and we should pay attention to it. This principle of seedtime and harvest is repeated over and over again in the Gospels. This is an absolute. You cannot be a productive Christian unless you die. You can be born again and filled with the Spirit, but you won’t have abundant fruit in your life unless you die.
Some people are willing to die and some are not. Some people are afraid to die. They hold on to their life, preserving and protecting it, but they are miserable. Jesus said, “He who tries to save his life will lose it.” You will not have joy when you hold on, afraid to die, afraid to trust Jesus with your whole being. I have seen people give up because they wouldn’t die. They give up on the church, give up on God, and say, “Well, I tried it but it just didn’t do anything for me.” They would not die to themselves and become alive in Christ. This is the heart of the message of the Gospel: the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus…
DIE TO YOUR REPUTATION
Jesus said that I have to be willing to identify with Him, for His sake, and for the Gospel. In Mark 8:38 He talks about being ashamed of Him. He said, “If you’re ashamed of Me, then I’m going to be ashamed of you.” By saying this, Jesus revealed that the first thing in us that must die is our reputation. This means I must identify with Jesus Christ openly. I must speak His Word publicly, letting people know I’m a Christian; that Jesus is my Savior and my Lord. Others should know that I live by the principles of the Holy Word of God. You have to die to what you want others to think of you.
If I acknowledge I am a Christian, then I am going to be persecuted. I have to die to what I want others to think of me. I say some things that I know it might make some people a little upset. I had to get delivered before I could help people. I had to get delivered from my love of self, from loving myself more than loving others. When I love you I cannot hold back what I need to tell you because I’m afraid you will think evil of me. I’m going to say what I need to so you can be whole, and let you think whatever you are going to think. I must care for you more than I care about what you think of me. It’s called dying. If you are not willing to do that, you are a dormant seed.
Matthew 10:34-37 says, “Do not think that I am come to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword; for I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s enemies will be those in his own household. He who loves father and mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Jesus continues, “and he that does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.” He is saying that you must die to your reputation.
DIE TO YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
Your relationships are the next thing that must die. The most intimate relationships you have cannot come between you and Jesus Christ . If you identify with Christ, if you take up your cross, really die and plant yourself, then sometimes your husband, or wife, or children shun or persecute you. It will create some division in your home, but Jesus said, “If you are not willing to die and sacrifice relationship and put it in His hands, you are not worthy of Me.” I’ve had to do it with my own sons and daughters. When the boys were living at home and started manifesting rebellion against God, I said, “Boys, you will have to move out of the house if you continue to be a bad example to your sisters. I have to protect the girls. Make your choice.” Was that hard? Absolutely. Very hard, and I did it. Now they are both on my staff in ministry, preaching the Gospel. They know I was right. They learned from it. Everybody learned from it, and it brought the fear of God in our house.
I had to decide to be loyal to Jesus first. Husbands do not come before Jesus. Wives do not come before Jesus. Children do not come before Jesus, and Grandma does not come before Jesus. No one comes before Jesus. We have to be loyal to Jesus first. He said, “If you won’t put Me first and be loyal to Me above every other intimate relationship you may have, you are not worthy of Me.” Jesus can say this because when He died, He was our example of giving up relationship. He gave up His intimate relationship with the Father for you, and hung on a cross and said, “My God, My God why has thou forsaken Me?” He was willing to sacrifice the most intimate relationship He had for you. He can say, “Look, I did it, and if you are not willing to do what I did, you are not worthy of Me.”
DIE TO YOUR RIGHTS
There are three things to which you must die: your reputation, your relationships, and your rights. You have to put Jesus first and be loyal to Him above everything. “But it’s my life. What if God wants me to do something I don’t want to do?” Die. “What if God wants me to go where I don’t want to go?” Die.
You have to give up the right to your own life. Why? It is not yours, it belongs to God by right of creation and by right of redemption. You are no longer your own, you no longer have a choice.
At the Last Supper, Jesus was speaking about eating His flesh and drinking His blood. He said “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood; you have no life in you” (John 6:53). These were hard sayings and the Bible reports that from this time many of His disciples no longer followed Him. When you begin to get into some of these things, people think about the hard sayings of Jesus. God already did His part. The hard part for you is dying—taking up your cross, dying, and planting your life. How can you do this? For the joy that is set before you—God’s honor coming upon your life. God giving you an abundant harvest.
What you just read is an excerpt from Dr. John’s book HOW TO PRODUCE ABUNDANCE IN YOUR LIFE: The Kingdom Secrets Jesus Taught His Disciples. Follow this link to obtain your copy of HOW TO PRODUCE ABUNDANCE IN YOUR LIFE today.