“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” 1 John 3:16 [ESV]
How often do we gauge the love of God based on the reality of our flesh? “If I’m happy, successful, secure, then God loves me. If I’m discontent with the measure of my personal circumstances, then God must not love me as much.” Some even go so far as to look at their circumstances as proof (or lack thereof) for the existence of God! But what does the Bible say? What, according to scripture, is the proof of God’s love? The measure of His devotion to us? It is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who laid down first the comfort of heaven, then his own physical life on earth as a sacrifice for us. And he did this all at a time when your own circumstances did not yet exist. At a time when you were lost in the strange embrace of sin. At a time when you had no idea what ‘sacrifice’ meant.
Sacrifice means giving at personal expense for the sake of someone else. Parents routinely make sacrifices for their kids. Friends often think nothing of sacrificing for one another. Soldiers are honor-bound to sacrifice for their country and talk openly about their willingness to give all for their ‘brothers in arms.’ This is love. And this is the measure of love. It is not merely a feeling and cares not for personal circumstances. It has nothing to do with happiness or success, and everything to do with our willingness to give for the sake of others, just as Jesus gave all for us.
So, what is one way you can lay down your life for someone else today?
[Inspired by the preaching of pastor Kevin Melton, Purcell Baptist Church, Purcell, MO.]