Everyone wants to be loved. It’s one of our strongest desires and we sometimes do crazy things to find and keep it. Maybe that’s because in general, we don’t really understand what love is. We romanticize it, dramatize it and have many expectations, some realistic and some ridiculous. Military and other heroes have provided glimpses of real love but we can probably blame fairy tales for the unrealistic ones.
Two biblical truths, if known and understood by more people, could go a long way toward solving the mysteries around this most sought after and even necessary part of life: God loved us first (1 John 4:19). Many live under the delusion that God is waiting for us to show him love by our obedience, good deeds or sacrifices before he will even look our way and then, if we’ve met his standards of righteousness, deem us worthy of his love. This is the opposite of reality. He created us out of love. He loved us, knowing we would, collectively and individually, reject him.
That son, the one we also rejected and then killed, showed us the only way to absolutely know the meaning of love. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16, NIV). The last part of the verse continues with how to live it out: “And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
This is true love, not the mushy gushy, sentimental kind, but the down in the muck and mud of life kind. It’s what gets a mother up in the middle of the night with a sick child, what keeps a caregiver going when a loved one can’t function, and why a soldier falls on a grenade to save his comrades. And it’s how he wants us to do it, with his sacrificial, you first, I want the best for you, true love.
How do we do this? We already have it within, because the Holy Spirit has filled us with his love, but we have to work at it. Loving like Jesus means having his mindset every day, putting ourselves aside and considering others more important. When we practice laying down our lives as he did, his true love will overflow from us onto everyone.
Study by Tammy Tkach
First published on 31 January 2023, at www.gemsofgodsgrace.wordpress.com
About the writer:
Tammy Tkach is the Assistant Pastor of the Eugene, Oregon, USA congregation. She is a speaker and writer, and publishes a blog at www.gemsofgodsgrace.wordpress.com
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