This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
(John 15:12-13 ESV)
As Jesus spoke these words to His disciples, these men who had followed Him through miracles and several years of leading, guiding, and instruction could not grasp the depth of meaning that came from the heart and passion of the Son of God. God’s love for His human creation was greater than any human can possibly comprehend, just like everything else that encompasses the heart of God. God is infinite. Being perfect love, His love is just an infinite. Finite and sin-riddled as we are, how can we possibly grasp that infinite, perfect love of God? And how can we love each other likewise?
Self-focus denotes no love outside of self. Our human nature is naturally selfish and self-centered. Yes, there are people we care deeply for and enjoy being with. Yes, there are people we would protect, potentially with our lives. We may claim, even believe, that we would “take the bullet” for our children, our spouses, those we hold dear. But… sacrifice…? Are we willing to lay our life on an altar… put it aside… lose it… so someone else can live in the fullness of life that Jesus declared He desires for us in John 10:10?
Are we willing to allow God to put our desires – and even our feelings and emotions – aside so He can move and work in the life of another?
Jesus was willing. He was willing to leave His place in Heaven – Heaven in all of its perfection and unencomberances – to come down to sin-infested Earth to live with His Creation and be bound by time and space. He was willing to be spat on. Beaten beyond recognition. Ridiculed to the point of total rejection. Brutally hammered onto a cross with spikes to die – cruelly cruelly CRUELLY – FOR ME. Am I willing to suffer for another… in the same way?
Perhaps you’ve sacrificed. Perhaps you’ve chosen to sacrifice “your life” to follow Him, opening your hands and heart to be poured out fully in His service… but…
You feel that your sacrifice is not accepted. Your gifts are denied. Your acts of service and worship are not wanted, needed, or accepted by those you choose to pour them out onto – sacrificially. Your worship is squelched, because your service is rejected. The Spirit within you is quenched, and God is not allowed to work through you. God knows your heart. When you cannot sacrifice and your gifts are rejected, ask God where you need to be so you CAN be the sacrifice God called you to be – so you CAN worship freely and fully in His name and for His glory alone.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2 ESV)
Present yourself to God – be willing – to be His living sacrifice. 100%. Be willing to accept His assignment – whenever it comes – whatever it is. When you hear His voice – feel His call – be willing to say “Here am I; send me.” Be willing to say “Speak, for your servant is listening.” That voice – that call – may be the hardest you ever heed and act on in your entire life. But, when you test that call to discern and ensure that it is truly God’s voice and His will, it’s what you need to do. Even when you don’t understand – and others don’t… either.
The life of another is at stake. God wants to work – not only in your life – but in the life of another. You may be called to be the sacrifice for that life.
God knows what He’s doing. Even if you can’t understand, TRUST. HIM.
Jesus became nothing, so we might become everything we are called to be. In the same way, God may be calling you to lay aside your hopes, your dreams, your desires, your intentions, your love, your… pride…
…so He can teach another what He wants them to learn. So He can work. So He can refine. So He can be glorified.
So you choose to follow.
You choose to turn your back on your own life to follow His leading. There will be consequences. His ways and thoughts are not ours. People may not understand. You may accused to your face and behind your back of things that are amazingly bizarre and incredibly hurtful. The ones you love may turn their back on you. The very ones you are called to serve may spit in your face, turn their back, and walk away.
Count the cost. You may have to turn your back on the very ones you love the most – because that’s what God calls you to do. For THEM.
God calls us to be willing to lay everything on the altar for another. When we do it, we may be deserted by everyone – except the God Who calls us, Who holds us, Who sustains us, and Who desires that His plan and purpose be accomplished in each of His children.
We may need to be sacrificed so another can be broken – for God’s glory.
They may or may not accept, understand, or claim the sacrifice that is made for them – for His glory. Not to us, but to your Name be the glory!
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. (Hebrews 13:15 ESV)
And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. (Matthew 10:14 ESV)
Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:25 ESV)
Be willing to be the sacrifice for the life of another – because of love. Be willing to love that person so much that you have to walk away – because of love. Be willing to die for another – because of love.
Their life is at stake.