Well, we’re in the middle of yet another week. I can’t help but feel trapped in an endless cycle of the same days over and over again. Wednesdays, to me, are boring. It feels as if you’re being held captive between the woes of Monday and the highs of Friday. It’s the middle ground that no one ever asked for yet here it is anyway.
Not being negative (God forbid) but you know that it’s true. It’s been a trying few days and I can’t say for certain that I’ve handled my particular situation correctly. I don’t know. I feel as if I have. I’ve been truthful, I’ve tried to keep myself from verbally attacking. I can certainly justify myself in any way that I want but maybe I did do something wrong? Maybe I did do something to deserve this? I guess we will see soon enough…. maybe.
I say all of that because of the specific topic we’re talking about today. Actually, it’s the topic we’ve been talking about for a few weeks now and that is simply: love. Love is the essence of what we spend most of our lives trying to find. We all have a desire to love and to be loved. I’m sure we all have come across certain situations that have provoked us to act in an unloving way, though. Let’s face it, we’re humans. We’re imperfect people. It happens.
I’m particularly convicted because though I may not be at fault completely for the issue swirling in my brain, I know that there have been times when I have not shown this extraordinary love.
Notice that I said “shown” and not “felt”.
This is the point that I believe God and His Word are trying to get across to us. Love isn’t an emotion, it’s an action. It’s a behavior. Love is a lifestyle. It’s evidenced in I Corinthians 13 where Paul gives a lengthy description of what true love really is. His readers were being persecuted, they were in despair, but Paul calls on them to refuse their natural tendencies and to embrace Jesus’ kind of love. In it he says this:
“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” I Corinthians 13:4-8a
Each week, for the last five weeks, we’ve dived into each little piece of this verse. We’re not too deep into it quite yet but we’ve approached the issue of selfishness.
Let’s be honest, we live in a world that lives and breathes a dog-eat-dog mentality. You’re in it for yourself. Take care of what you have because you never know who’s going to come along to try and take it. Do things that make you happy. Be satisfied. Take what you can while you can.
There’s no thought or regard towards any other person.
There’s no regard for any other’s life, story, or experiences. We’re in it for ourselves and it’s created an inexorably, nasty world.
It won’t take you long to find an example of someone being selfish. It won’t take you long to point a finger at someone but how many times is that finger pointed at ourselves?
Selflessness, obviously the opposite of selfishness, is the epitome of love. It represents it to its deepest core. Knowing true love is acting on true selflessness. How do we know this?
Jesus Christ, on the cross, crucified on behalf of you and me for the sole purpose of redeeming us from our sins and giving us a chance at new life.
We are deeply sinful people. There’s no escape from that fact. Spiritually, on our own, we are dead in our sins and we cannot save ourselves from it. God, knowing full well our wicked disposition, sent His Only Son to come and sacrifice himself for our sake. He knew that we would reject Him but He also knew that He had an example to set for those who chose to believe.
The reason I can come to you with such passion and certainty of this truth is because Jesus modeled this very act for us.
“just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13
The act of laying one’s life down on the account of another’s benefit is selflessness. It is the willingness to give something that someone may not even deserve. Jesus very much gave us this truth when he gave us something we never deserved: an opportunity for a relationship with Him and eternal life through His redemptive work on the cross and his resurrection from the dead.
As Christians, true, repentant believers, we are called to be this very thing to the world that is desperately in need of Jesus. This is not a suggestion, it is a commandment. In fact, it is one of the most important commandments ever given.
“and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30, 31
Practically speaking, this commandment calls us to go out of our away, to willingly inconvenience ourselves, for the sole benefit and purpose of another human being, whether they deserve it or not.
Hard to do? Absolutely. Regardless, as true, believing God-followers it’s a must. How can we say we serve a God such as this yet not resemble, or model, the very essence of who He is?
I fully believe that there are many who claim to be Christians but can be easily weeded out as “fakers” simply because their lives do not exhibit any kind of change. Does that mean we’re all perfect? Does that mean we’ll never struggle with particular things? Certainly not.
What it does mean, however, is that for a true Christian their life will be marked by a steady, gradual, growth process wherewith the evil sides of their lives become transformed into the image of God.
That’s what it means to be a Christian.
Here are 3 quick takeaways for today:
- You are called to model the very nature of God’s character by selflessly giving of yourself for the benefit of others.
- If you see that your life is not being shaped in this way, your heart may be in need of evaluation. There’s nothing wrong with this. We all fail in many ways. You’re not the only one. *points finger in my direction*
- You can’t do this on your own. You need Jesus, plain and simple.
I’ve had a hard time writing this to you because it has been incredibly convicting on my own heart. Even reading through last week’s post I found myself shaking my head and mumbling, “You’re an idiot.”
Regardless of how many times we’ve failed, there is always forgiveness and remedy found at the foot of the cross if one has a repentant heart. Don’t wallow in your failure. That’s what Satan wants you to do. God, on the other hand, wants you to be free from chains and free from your sinful shackles.
Run the race well, my friends. You have been given strength from God and are called to use it for His glory.