Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Consider Christ’s Love Sacrifice

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Now we know that the true meaning of Christmas is in the gift of love that God gave us in his son, Jesus.  What now?  God wants us to take that love and spread it all over the world.  He wants us to love all the way He has loved us.

God sacrificed for us. We can look at so many places in Scripture to see this same thing.  It is interesting that both John 3:16 and 1 John 3:16 both talk about God’s love for us.  1Jn 3:16-18 says  We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. Love came down at Christmas in the form of a baby in a manger. Not just a squishy, gooey emotional love but a purposeful and sacrificial love.  I am not sure that we will ever be able to get our heads around the sacrifice that Christ made for us so we could have the opportunity for life. 

Jesus gave up everything; the glory of heaven, the perfect union with the Father and Spirit, to take on flesh and voluntarily subject Himself to the limiting nature of flesh even while knowing the glory He experienced with the Father.  Jesus understands sacrifice in a way that we never will because we cannot love as purely as He loved.  Because God loves us and His love is sacrificial, John tells us… Our Love for Others should be Sacrificial (We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  1John 3:16

When we reflect on the perfect love that came down that first Christmas and embrace who Jesus is, how does that translate into our lives?  Maybe it's more about dying to our selfishness and pride than it is about jumping into oncoming traffic or taking a bullet. Maybe it's not so much about what we say as it is about how we act. Maybe it's about truly finding joy in the giving rather than the receiving.
Here is the Loving All – It is compassion and consideration displayed in our everyday relationships. It is not always our first nature to love.  We are human. Sometimes the people that are closest to us, our family, are the ones we have the hardest time loving.  It is true that familiarity breeds contempt!  But no matter what the circumstances, love will not seek to hurt or break the relationship.  It is patient, kind, and does not react with vengeance.  When love does act unbecomingly it is saddened and seeks to restore. When love is selfish it becomes ugly and manipulative; it "seeks its own."  There is nothing so unlovely as selfish love.  A feeling of appreciation is not necessarily love.  A feeling of compassion may very well be love in action.  So how can we love people in sacrificial ways if it is against our nature?

To Love sacrificially requires a New Nature
We were born into this world with a corrupted nature. We need to be born again, born in a spiritual sense to receive this new nature.  John tells us that the ability to love in this way comes from God. Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7 2. To be able to live a life that loves all, that is expressive of God’s nature, you need to have that nature within you.  This new nature is something that grows in us as we walk with the Lord in obedience.  We need to be growing in our ability to love by walking closely with the Lord in obedience to His leading.   We will never be able to love like the Lord completely, but we should be more loving all the time as we walk with the Lord.

Scripture to Claim:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17

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