This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1John 4:10
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Word in Motion:
These are probably three of the most powerful verses I know, and yet somehow very few catch the depth of what is herein expressed. We’ve got two apostles giving us the lowdown on love. John, the beloved, one of Jesus’ best friends (as is evidenced by the fact that he was chosen anytime just a few of the disciples were called out) and Paul, the self-proclaimed chief of sinners and former antagonist of the early church. You might think that with such different characters there would be a variation in their observations. But did you notice how closely these verses read? The big takeaway is this: God loves us. Not just us Christians, or Believers, but Humanity!
There is something that we overlook in these verses that is misunderstood and misrepresented. It’s a question as old as time, I think, that we start asking early in life, and few ever find a satisfactory answer. What is love? According to these verses (and others), love is not some ambiguous emotional state or some other nebulous thing out there. It is something very concrete and measurable. It is sacrifice. Pure and simple. If you want to know if you love someone, ask yourself what you’re willing to sacrifice for them. Will you give up your time for them? Your resources? Your life?
Think about it. These verses tell us how much God loves us, right? (It’s not a trick question, the answer is “yes”.) But there’s more. God has given us his time – he wants us to spend eternity with him, he is always with us (he will never leave us or forsake us). He has given us his resources - “Ask and it will be given to you” (Matthew 7:7, and so many more). And he has given us his life as is mentioned in our verses for today. Now, while the first two wouldn’t be sacrifices for God, they would be for us and therefore an appropriate way for us to demonstrate our love to someone else. Likewise, all these things would be a good way for us to show our love to God
So can you love someone without sacrifice? No, I think you can like them, but I do not think its love. Now, this is going to be bad news to some who say, “I love you because God says we’re supposed to love everybody, but I don’t like you.” I know I’ve said that before. I hate it when God has me write something and then in the middle of it, he challenges me on what I am writing. Now all those people to whom I’ve said I love you, while thinking in the back of my head, only because I have to, I’ll have to demonstrate it – or at least be willing to – through sacrifice. This is God’s way.
Here is today’s challenge:
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. 2John 1:6
What is God asking you to sacrifice for the people (saved or not) He loves?
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice [an act of love], holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1 -
Ask God what He is wanting you to sacrifice
Write down what He reveals
Demonstrate that love to those He loves.