When most of us think about LOVE, we often think about it in the context of romantic relationships…we think of the emotions that come with “falling in love” with someone. But in today’s scriptures (Day 25 – What Is Love? Challenge), we learn that God’s definition of Love is SACRIFICE…it’s not a feeling that grows hot or cold based on how other people treat us… love doesn’t cease to exist because our emotions have grown cold…it’s a constant CHOICE we have to make.
John 15:9-13 (ESV)
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
Naturally, we have a hard time following God’s commandments because it goes against our fleshy sinful nature. But if we LOVE God and want to abide in his LOVE we have to make the conscious choice to keep his commandments, that’s the only way we can find true joy in this world.
Jesus says, we’re to show the same type of love to one another, we have to consciously make the choice to love one another even when we don’t feel like it…this is LOVE.
If you’re a parent or are married, then you know that a lot of times you have to do things that you don’t feel like doing…you have to wake up in the middle of the night to soothe a crying baby, or a sick child while, you had a stressful day, are sick yourself or while you’d rather catch up on sleep.
You have to wake up early in the morning before everyone else and make sure you get everything ready for your family, to start the day…all these actions are those of LOVE…sometimes your children will test your limits because of their defiant behaviour but you CHOSE to continue loving them anyway. Sometimes your spouse will disappoint you and hurt you but you have to chose to continue loving them anyway… LOVE is INTENTIONAL, we chose to love others inspite of their flaws.
When we chose to follow God’s commandments we’re building the muscle of SACRIFICE, OBEDIENCE, SUBMISSION and LOVE, if we can be OBEDIENT to God, if we can SUBMIT to God and LOVE him, then it becomes easier to do the same for others.
Jesus says, the greatest life is laying one’s life for his own friends…this is what Jesus did, he left his Holy throne of Majesty, to take upon a human body, to live like we do, to be tempted like we do, to experience shame, pain and suffering like we do…
Even though Jesus was God and loved humanity deeply and was willing to give up his own life as a sacrifice, he was also human and his human side was weak…he had to fast and pray intensely to overcome his flesh. He asked God if there was any other way he can save humanity without having to “drink from the cup” of suffering but ultimately he surrendered and submitted to God’s will. He chose to be obedient and sacrifice his own life for his “friends”.
Luke 22:42 (ESV)
42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
We may not have to go to this extent to show LOVE for others but we’re still called to “carry ” our cross each day, to cast aside our pride and ego, to overcome our carnal needs and desires, to “die” to ourselves each day, to “crucify” our sinful nature each day and to CHOSE to submit and obey God’s commandments, this is how we LOVE God and others.