I’ve been thinking about love lately.
God has put this topic on my heart, and I’ve specifically been burdened with this statement:
Love without sacrifice isn’t real love.
Sacrificial love demonstrates genuine care and affection for someone. Saying “I love you” doesn’t make it true. Giving someone a hug doesn’t require sacrifice (most likely). Smiling at a child doesn’t mean you truly care about him or her.
So how can you tell if someone loves you?
If he or she makes sacrifices for you.
How can you tell if you love someone?
If you make sacrifices for him or her.
This isn’t an original thought; it’s from John 15:13.
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. (John 15:13 NKJV)
This, of course, is how we know that God loves us.
Christ made the ultimate sacrifice—Himself.
He certainly didn’t die because we deserved it or because we can someday repay Him for it. He gives us everything because He loves us. That is real love.
So God sacrificed everything for us. Do we sacrifice anything for Him?
I hate to say this, but I sacrifice very little for my Savior. Call me a hypocrite, a liar, or a fake; but that’s the truth. It’s easy to write about how to live, but it is extremely challenging to actually live that way.
How many times have I sacrificed something for God? Unfortunately, those times are few and far between. I’ve spoken to a few lonely girls, handed out a few tracts, and obeyed my parents a few times when I didn’t feel like it.
Notice the word I keep using: few. Shouldn’t my love for Christ affect everything I do? Shouldn’t I make sacrifices for His great name every minute of every day?
But I don’t.
What are you willing to sacrifice for Jesus?
Your reputation? Your success? Your job? Your family and friends? Your home? Your dreams?
You’re not going to love well in every situation or in every area of your life because you’re a fallible, self-centered human being. You’re going to put yourself first some of the time.
But we shouldn’t put ourselves first most of the time.
Our ultimate goal should be to love well—and that requires sacrifice.
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15).
Sacrificing for God looks different in each of our lives. For me, sacrificing for God includes getting out of my comfort zone (witnessing, being friendly, etc.), surrendering my desires (willingness to let go of my plans, submitting to my parents’ instructions, etc.), and choosing to live a submissive life (dressing modestly, being kind to irritating people, etc.).
What does sacrificing for God look like in your life?
Can we get beyond ourselves to fulfill the greatest commandment in the whole Law (Matthew 22:36-38)?
I hope we can.
It’s easy to say we love God, but we won’t know if that statement is true unless we are willing to sacrifice for Him like He sacrificed for us. We won’t love Him perfectly 24/7, but we can certainly try. If we care about Him, it will be obvious in our choices and in our interactions with others.
And that is where Part 2 comes in…