Love Like Death
“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:10-11 ESV)
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“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also.” (John 12:24-26a. ESV)
These are two scriptures that I read while in Canada…and they both hit me with a similar force on the topic of love…and, after meditating on them awhile, God gave me some clarity into the questions that arose in my mind: What is real love? And what does really loving someone mean?
The verses in 1 John, say that the definition of love is giving up your life for someone else…even if they don’t return your sacrifice, or appreciate it.
The verses in John 12 solidify the fact that, in order for our lives to bear much fruit, we actually have to die; to ourselves, our own desires, our own agendas, our own ideas of what comforts we want or “deserve” in this world…even dying to the false ideas that the world has given to us about what love looks like and what a “good” life on earth looks like! And then we have to give away what remains of our existences on earth to serve Christ…because we love Him…because we want others to love Him…and because anything else we do with our lives while on earth is meaningless in light of eternity. Whew! It’s no wonder that selfishness, in it’s various forms, has become widely accepted as the new “love”; the real thing is hard!
For the past few weeks, I’ve been praying that God would help me to love people like He loves them; giving up my life for them – whatever that may mean for me (whether in “small”, daily sacrifices, or even actually giving up my life). And that He would reveal more of the truth of what love really is to me, and teach me how to display that love to others. I’m still a work-in-progress. haha! And, like I said, really loving people (more than myself) is a hard thing. Something which I, in my human-ness am simply un-capable of on my own. BUT…fortunately, I have the BEST teacher in matters of love that EVER existed… (John 15:13)
I also found it interesting in verse 26, how it says, “If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also.” …because, at the point Jesus said this, he hadn’t yet gone to the cross. I realize that, in the latter half of the sentence, it’s possible that He is referring to heaven…however, when you look at this verse from the point of view that Jesus is speaking to some of His disciples, and He has yet to go through the torture and the humiliation, and the death which He knows is coming, it has a whole new gravity about it. Jesus is saying that if we truly love Him, we must follow Him wherever He leads…and that whatever He goes through, we must be willing to go through also. “…where I am, there will my servant be also…”- through the false accusations, the mockery, the torture, the shame, through all the suffering, and even through the crucifixion and death. BUT also through the resurrection, and the glory, and in the coming kingdom of heaven; wherever Christ has gone before us, there we will be.
So, ponder that for a while!
Which leads me to my next blog post…
But for now, “…that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death…”