One word perfectly sums up my mom’s love for me—availability. Countless tear-filled midnight chats during my teen years, regular “taxi service” to help me run errands, and her commitment to drop whatever she’s doing to greet me at the door with a smile and a hug even if I show up unannounced—these are some of the ways she loves me well.
This kind of generous availability requires sacrifice. She denies the sacrifice, saying it’s her joy to do it. Though a sweet sentiment, she never fools me. Loving me well costs her—sleep, time, the gas in her car, food, energy, and her daily agenda.
Jesus said in John 15:13, ”Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Few of us will actually die for someone else. But our lives consist of time, energy, and resources, and loving well demands that we sacrifice some of those things. Rarely convenient or comfortable, loving well is costly.
Sacrificial love opposes our selfish nature. We won’t love others sacrificially without the transforming work of Jesus Christ. Willing, joyful, sacrificial love begins when we recognize and humbly receive the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ (1 John 4:19). My mom’s sacrificial love for me motivates me to love others in the same way. Likewise, Jesus demonstrated sacrificial love when he gave up his own life to pay for our sins, saving us from death and offering us eternal life with him even though we don’t deserve it (1 John 3:19). Our supernaturally-natural response to his gracious, sacrificial love for us is to sacrificially love others (1 John 3:16).
How can you love others sacrificially today? Start by meditating on God’s love for you. Read his Word and praise him for the continuous story of his loving redemption from Genesis to Revelation. Stay attentive to his loving work in your own life—like answered prayer, daily provision, or forgiveness—and thank him for it.
Paul stated in Philippians 2:2–3 that when we choose humility and consider others more important than ourselves by focusing on their needs ahead of our own, we love them well. Are you willing and available to serve and love even when it’s hard, inconvenient, uncomfortable, or costly? Because sacrificial love doesn’t come naturally to us, we need God’s help. Pray for it and ask him for a heart of humility. Surrender your own agenda for the day to the Lord and look for opportunities to “lay down your life” out of love for those around you.
Today, loving others well may be as simple as greeting your husband at the door when he returns home from work, taking time to really listen when you ask someone how they’re doing, or offering to run an errand for a busy young mom or elderly neighbor. No loving sacrifice is too small, each one a demonstration of God’s sacrificial love for us.
About the Author:
Jana Carlson is a writer, Bible teacher, and mentor. She inspires and teaches women and writers to love the Bible, experience its transforming power for every aspect of life, and wield the Word for God’s glory. Connect with her at janacarlson.com.
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