We are continuing to look at the fruit of love, and today we will focus on one of the attributes of Biblical love: Sacrifice.
Hopefully I didn’t just lose too many readers!
Sacrifice is not always associated with love; and yet it is a part of true, Biblical love, that cannot be left out without calling into question the validity of the claim.
So…let’s talk about that.
For many, like myself, the idea of sacrifice is much mor attractive than the act of sacrifice. We admire sacrifice in the lives of others, but often avoid it in our own lives at any cost.
There is often a great gulf fixed between our rhetoric and our actions.
“I would die for my family!” a man says.
Yet, that same man may be unwilling to give up Monday night football to spend a little more time with his children. Is giving up his life less of a sacrifice than giving up a football game? Certainly not, but there is a difference between a theoretical willingness to pay the ultimate price, and an actual request to give up something he loves right now.
I am not suggesting that a man should give up Monday night football. I only use it as an example.
Let us not be too hard on this imaginary man. After all…we all our own “Monday night football” areas.
My point is, we are drawn to sacrifice in others, and we easily make the claim of our own sacrificial willingness. However, when put the test, our love will determine our sacrifice.
John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
This is not merely putting others first, though that can be a sacrifice of sorts. This is the greatest sacrifice. This is the sacrifice of our Saviour. Jesus did this very thing. Can we doubt His love when faced with the level of His sacrifice?
John 10:18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself…
Jesus was not an unwilling sacrifice. He was a willing lamb.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Do you see that? He loved…and he sacrificed.
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
He loved…and he sacrificed.
Now, I am certainly not calling upon you to make the ultimate sacrifice for those you love today. Certainly there are those who may be called upon to do so, but that is not my purpose. My purpose is the challenge you in regard to the much simpler sacrifices which could be made, and should be made when we are filled with the Holy Spirit’s fruit of love.
Love sacrifices its own desires, for the desires of others when needed.
Love sacrifices its own comforts for the sake of the comforts of others when needed.
Loves sets its own needs aside so that it may meet the need of others when necessary.
Love does all this willingly.
Notice the last verse in the text above. Ephesians 5:25. Do you see that Husbands are called to love their wives in the same sacrificial way that Christ did? Does that mean they should die for their wives? Well…certainly if that were required. However, was that the only sacrifice Christ made on our behalf? Certainly not.
Christ gave up so much more for us. He laid aside his royal robes. He was despised and rejected of men. He was a man of sorrows, and well acquainted with grief. He was bruised for our iniquities. He endured all of this…for us. What else but love could bring about such sacrifice?
I am reminded of the hymn “What Wonderous Love is This”. Read the words to the first verse…
What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
to bear the dreadful curse for my soul?
It is indeed a wonderous love…and dear reader, this is the same love which should dwell in us by the Holy Spirit.
Heavenly Father, what a wonderous love you have shown to your creation. I am overwhelmed as I pause to think of all that your Son sacrificed on my behalf. Then I think that you have given us your Holy Spirit to bear such love in my life. It goes against the flesh. I am incapable of such love on my own. Show me today how I can live in such a sacrificial frame of mind toward those I love, and point out the self-centeredness that so often resides in my heart. Make me like Christ today. In Jesus name, amen.