August 22, 2014

sacrifical love

I have been in a Beth Moore bible study on Wednesday nights that has rocked my world.  It's called Loving Well, and what I have learned during the course of this study has really challenged me. I want to share with you the truths the Lord revealed to me.

First, Jesus died for me and saved me knowing that there would be many times afterward I would fail to follow His perfect will.

Wow. Wait a minute. Read that again, slowly. Go on...

That statement above, that is perfect love. 

Love (verb) - To know that someone will disappoint you often but then sacrifice for them anyway.

It's hard to accept such love.  It's difficult to wrap our minds around something given so unconditionally.

Romans 8:38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Christian, it doesn't matter what you or anyone else does, Jesus loves you, and He always will.

Now, another challenging truth revealed to me during this study.  Have you heard something like this before?  With great privilege comes great responsibility.  Well, I believe there is some spiritual truth to this...

1 John 4:9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Because we, Christian, have been so well loved with an amazing unconditional and freely given love, we ought to love others in that same manner.  In this way, the non-believer will see God.  He or she will see Him through us and, hopefully, come to know Him.

And as easy as that might sound, in application, it is HARD!

Luke 6:27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Christian - Love is sacrificial, and when done sacrificially, it speaks volumes about our Jesus.  It creates an aroma that is pleasing and attractive to the lost.

2 Corinthians 2:14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life.

So, Love. Love sacrificially.  Love unconditionally. Love as Christ loved us.

Love (verb) - To know that someone will disappoint you often but then sacrifice for them anyway.

To love in this manner can be challenging...

Offer a helping hand to the coworker that wronged you and might - most likely - wrong you again. 

Take a meal to the woman who decided to have an abortion and needs a friend to lean on.

Bake a cake for the gay couple if they ask you, or let the lesbian couple buy a dress from your establishment.

Luke 6:32 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

I am beyond appreciative that God loves me in a sacrificial and merciful manner.  I praise Him for loving in a sacrificial and merciful manner.  And as a result, I MUST love in a sacrificial and merciful manner.

And don't fret that your acts of love may translate into the acceptance of sins. That didn't stop Jesus from loving the adulterous woman who was about to be stoned.  And praise God, that didn't stop Jesus from dying for me and you on the cross.

Just love.  The results are amazing. 

Today's forget-me-not: Ephesians 5:1-2 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

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