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Weekly Devotionals

A Love That Sacrifices

Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭22‬:‭34‬-‭40‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:13

Sometimes, when trying to live the Christian life, we end up putting too much emphasis on peripheral matters and end up forgetting about what is most important. We get busy trying to find the Christian answers to issues that we face today. We wonder if God shares our perspective on social media, political issues, or climate change and we seek out Christian answers to family problems, dating, or finances.

Yet without remembering the most important commandment, Christian answers can become meaningless. In today’s verses, Jesus tells us about what holds everything together and gives us direction. We are to love God with our whole being and love our neighbor as though this other person is ourself. Furthermore, we are told that love would even lead us to lay down our life for a friend!

Although this command to love is not confusing, if we’re being honest, it’s very hard. Most of what the world teaches us is the opposite. Looking out for our own interest or our own family’s interest comes more naturally and if this means another person will suffer as a result, that is just the way life goes. Survival of the fittest.

Even as a people of God, we often forget that love is beyond affection and compatibility. We forget that love also means that we have the heart to sacrifice and suffer for the sake of one another. We are called to be willing to be at a disadvantage for the sake of someone else’s well-being. In doing so, the other person can experience Christ’s love and we can also experience God’s providence and care over our own needs.

When we lay down our desire to protect our own interests, we express our trust in Jesus’ lordship over our lives and this world and we open up an amazing potential for transformation and renewal that can only come from Christ’s presence and orchestration. It takes a faith!

I pray this week will bring us these deeper experiences of love and opportunities to sacrifice for another so that we can experience a beautiful growth in faith.

Have a great week!