“and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” 2 Cor. 5:15…………….
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” 2 Cor. 15:13…………..
“And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.” Mt. 10:38………….
“You continue to show me what sacrificial love is,” a beloved friend and sister in the Lord wrote me one day.
I immediately burst into tears. Why? First, I was feeling totally overwhelmed with a situation in which I had needed to practice sacrificial love, and I was exasperated, bitter, angry, hurt, desperate, impatient, distrusting, complaining, and needed to repent. Her words were right on time. From the Lord. That sacrificial love is not a one-time deal. It’s a way of life all Christ followers are called to learn to practice and live. To love sacrificially, day by day, even moment by moment, breath by breath, yes.
Second, I am the worst of all sinners, in my estimate anyway. Just as the apostle Paul thought he was, that’s exactly how I think of myself. I am NOTHING without the Lord Jesus Christ, I struggle with sin continually, I am consumed with self though I try desperately not to be, and anything whatsoever I do that demonstrates sacrificial love is only by God’s grace, in His love and strength, and for His glory. How could someone like me possibly love sacrificially, and to so truly love sacrificially that someone else could even see because the love truly is real love, and the love truly is sacrificial? In Christ.
Third, I, like all Christ followers, am being watched. See, Christ’s followers are watched by this world, and even by fellow Christ followers. For we are to display, and reflect, and demonstrate, and manifest the love and light and hope and peace and mercy and comfort and sensitivity and kindness and patience etc. of the Lord Jesus Christ that can only be found in Him and through Him for the glory of the Lord. I was reminded that day I am being watched.
Fourth, my sweet friend, who wrote such words of encouragement to me, is a role model to me because just as she watches me, I watch her. I see her love, kindness, patience, gentleness, mercy, steadfastness, faithfulness, giving, dedication to Christ and God’s Word, dedication to her family, to her friends, and on and on. I see how she, too, is learning to love sacrificially. Not in her own flesh, in her own weakness, but in God’s awesome almighty strength.
Fifth, the tiny, tiny bit of sacrificial love someone else sees in me, coupled with all the sacrificial love demonstrated by any and all humans on this earth, is NOTHING compared with the sacrificial love of God the Father who sacrificed His only Son, Jesus, and compared with the sacrificial love of His only Son Jesus who went to the cross after living a perfect life to bear all our sins and God’s wrath and the punishment of forever in hell and the lake of fire eternally apart from God upon Himself so all who repent and believe in Him as Lord, believing this Gospel message, truly devoting their lives to God and His ways through Christ, are forgiven and given an everlasting relationship with God. How can our sacrificial love even possibly compare? Oh, how glorious is the Lord and His sacrificial love for us! It is only in Him we can have, and have seen by others, even an ounce of sacrificial love.
We are called to a life of sacrificial love, are we not? And this lifestyle of sacrificial love can only happen when we learn day by day to die to self, to deny self, and to genuinely in total devotedness live for Christ who sacrificed His life for us.