Sacrificial Love

I haven’t written on here in awhile. Life has been crazy, but I found a chance to sit and write for a minute. I am hoping God speaks through this blog, based on a quote that I came across from my pastor. We tend to have this messed up idea of love–not just in romantic relationships, but the idea of love itself and it’s essence. Matt Chandler quotes that “People don’t like love. They like that flittery, flirty feeling. They don’t love love–love is sacrificial, ferocious, not emotive. Our culture doesn’t love love; it loves the idea of love. It wants the emotion without paying anything for it–it’s ridiculous.” See, if we start to let love birth out of emotions and butterflies, we completely lose sight of where true joy can be had. It is a dangerous, idolatrous road, if we start to desire the perks of love, instead of love itself. Not to mention, we are fools to think flittery feelings can sustain our desperate hearts.

The idea of love really comes back to one foundation. Whether we are in a relationship, marriage, or even single and serving those around us, loving others is based on sacrifice. But this sacrifice isn’t just some command from God that comes out of nowhere. It is rooted in the gospel, at the cross, where Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice. Until we understand the love talked about in John 15:13 where it says “Greater love has no one than this, that He lay down his life for his friends” we will never be able to sacrificially love as we are called. The gospel, in simple terms, is summed up in Romans 5:8: “But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” This is the only basis for loving others and marriage is actually a picture of the sacrificial love that Christ shows us. Although I am not married, I hear that the “flittery flirty feelings” fade. Wow that was a lot of “f” words. So why chase after this cheap idea of “love”. It’s simply not true love.

Sacrificial love is shown all over the Bible and it isn’t a joy-robbing command from God. It actually frees us up to love each other regardless of circumstances. It strips away entitlement, envy, and selfishness, which is a good thing because those lead to enslavement and joylessness. Society sees sacrifice as some horrific thing, but the God of the Bible is the essence of perfect love. He doesn’t just tell us to sacrifice for no reason. He became the ultimate sacrifice in the flesh and “for the joy set before him” Jesus endured the cross. Therefore, it only makes sense that He would work for the good of those who love Him–that He is for their ultimate joy. And those who love Jesus are marked by the gospel. This means they identify themselves as lovers of Christ because of what He has done, not by anything in and of themselves. A life marked by surrender to this sacrificial love in Christ, will in turn, live to love others sacrificially and ferociously. We won’t love perfectly, but we will move towards loving each other perfectly. Praise God that His grace covers our messy failed attempts.

The original quote I shared took me straight to marriage in context. But as a single, 20 year-old girl, I cannot speak much about marriage. I took this to a broader level–friendships, co-workers, classmates, family, neighbors, whoever it may be. It is our instinct to only want to show love to someone who somehow benefits us. That’s definitely where I catch myself. Loving someone without expectation is probably one of the hardest things on this side of heaven, but it is also one of the most rewarding things. Why? Because we get to know Jesus more and grasp an ounce of the suffering He experienced. Philippians 3:7-12 lays out this idea perfectly for us. It says in verse 10-12: “that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and may share in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may obtain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” Culture sees this type of sacrifice as nonsense, but there is true freedom in this–to identify with Christ in his death, so that our sin might be put away, and we might move towards life-giving joy found in Christ’s resurrection. We won’t ever experience life-giving joy until we identify with the One true sacrifice. I know you probably started reading this thinking I wouldn’t take it to this point. But every subject should come back to central focus on Jesus. He is the driving force to every aspect of life. O that we might cherish and treasure the Savior’s sacrifice so much, that we might truly love others–sacrificially and ferociously.

 

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