How many of us would be willing to give up our life so that someone else could live? Perhaps for our child, but what about a stranger (or even an enemy)?
This is the way of Jesus. Meant here is not necessarily physical death, but death to self.
Would we die so others could live? Would we die to our own desires and dreams?
We live in a culture which to some extent teaches the opposite. The sacrifice of military servicemembers in battle or other persons who give their lives for another in a disaster is honored and even considered with a degree of awe. However, the focus of our culture has shifted away from self-sacrifice and an attitude of giving to others the past fifty years. It has turned to an emphasis on self. We can easily get caught up in thinking about how to protect self, elevate self and make sure self’s needs are met no matter what the cost instead of looking to the needs of others. “You are not giving me what I need and deserve” is often more the heart’s cry in the face of those around us rather than, “What do you need?”
This attitude is not Christ and has nothing to do with His Way. He poured Himself out 100 percent for us.
Now that said, it does need to be recognized that though we are the beneficiaries of His full offering of self for us, He did not do it specifically to please us, but to please His Father. He would never have gained inner satisfaction or fulfillment by working to please us. We are all so utterly human and fickle. If He had looked to do only what pleased us, He never would have gone to the cross and probably wouldn’t have spoken the life-transforming Truth, which was His message. Jesus succeeded in His mission for the Father because He did only exactly what the Father asked of Him and because it is the essence of true love (and He is love.)
Jesus is our model. Our goal is to be more like Him. This being the case, we need to look to please the Father as well, understanding His focus will be serving and loving on others, whether they respond in kind or not. (He is love and operates in love regardless of whether it is reciprocated.) Pre-requisite to being part of His kingdom is embracing His way. It is the way of death to self for life in Him and that life will be about serving others, specifically where and as His Spirit leads.
If we do not believe in God, then our self focus can remain. For if He is not real, then this life may well be all there is. If God does not exist, this would mean there is no omnipotent, all-good, supernatural, Supreme Being looking out for us and beckoning us home. Without God we would need to look after ourselves and get all we can no matter the cost.
What an empty, purposeless life it would be where all meaning beyond ourselves has been vacuumed away and we live in a void consumed by self… But we are blessed. We know God IS.
As we finally understand God is real, promises to protect and provide for us perfectly and invites us to partner with Him to show others His Kingdom so they can find their way to their eternal home, and we begin to sense the incomprehensible, infinite love of God which is not bound by human weakness and fallability, our lives should experience extreme change. We will never be the same. Our focus becomes an aching to become His drink poured out for others as He was for us regardless of the personal cost.
Holy Spirit, guide us. Holy Spirit, teach us. Holy Spirit, help us to be Your love and forgive us each time we fail and drop back into old habits. You are our hope. You are our purpose. In You we have life. In Jesus’ name, Amen
(Note: for those living in abusive relationships, it is not okay to simply “grin and bear it”. This is not dying to self, it is not valuing self and you have value because you are a child of God. To remain in an abusive situation is not being in the will of God, for God would never want this for one of His children. If this is the case, He will show you the way out step by step, just as He will strengthen you to do it without bitterness and with forgiveness – if you will let Him. ~ Elizabeth)
JOHN 15:9-13 (Amplified)
9I have loved you, [just] as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love [[a]continue in His love with Me].
10If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions], you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commandments and live on in His love.
11I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing.
12This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you.
13No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends.
Selah! [Pause and calmly think of that!]
PLEASE view the music video for “RESTORE” (with choir) on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piQYnPY1vIA&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL (Made by upcoming, Holy Spirit-filled film director, Olivia Mowry.)
Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist. She is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way.
For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org Worship music audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro For information on her work for the military and their families please visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org Eagles Nest Foundation is a 501(c)3 corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible.