Autumn is my favorite season. I love the beautiful leaves, crisp air, apple cider, and bundling up. I’m struck by the paradox of how much beauty there is in dying leaves. There’s profound glory as the botanical world lets everything go and hunkers down for the winter.
In many ways autumn reminds me of the spiritual reality of dying and rising with Christ. Everything that is resurrected must first pass through crucifixion. We die in order that we might truly live.
Jesus said it this way: “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. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:24–25). Or as Paul put it, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
As we follow Jesus, much must die. We die to our sin, to our selves; to our own way and to false hopes in earthly things. We lay down our lives that we might find them. And so we rise, the life of Christ our life by grace through faith in Him. We have been born again into a living hope: we live for righteousness, in the Spirit, by faith. We live for Christ who loved us and gave Himself up for us.
The paradox is, of course, that in losing ourselves we actually find ourselves. We become who we were meant to be all along. Our true, good, real, beautiful selves.
C. S. Lewis writes in Mere Christianity, “Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. … Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in that long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else.”
There’s glory in autumn. There’s glory in letting go. There’s glory in falling to the ground. It’s the only way to live, after all.
You are loved, more than you know.