During our church’s 21-days of fasting and prayer my children began seeking answers to many of their questions about Jesus. They wanted to know everything from where did he come from, to why did he die. In response, my husband and I began engaging them in endless conversations, and watching stories about Jesus to try and satisfy their curious minds. In the end we prayed that our efforts would bring them into a closer relationship with him.
During those moments of teaching and sharing with my children, I discovered a deeper love for the God I serve. I began asking myself, how could God the Father even consider sacrificing his one and only precious son, Jesus Christ, for sinful people like you and me? Can you imagine the agony of letting go of your only son, knowing all he would have to endure and suffer just to save some rebellious people from their sin? I find it to be absolutely mind blowing that the God of the universe loves us so much!
I then began to think about the relationship between my husband and I. This year we will celebrate our 7th year of marriage, and for us those have been some very challenging years! There were many days when I wanted to give up, and just walk away, because it seemed like the easiest and less painful solution to our countless issues. As we sought counsel through the years, and slowly grew and developed from our immaturity (still growing :)), I have come to a better understanding of the true meaning of love. Many of us believe that love is the feeling we get when we initially “fall in love” with that special someone. I have news for us, THAT IS NOT LOVE!
I have read the thirteenth chapter of Corinthians for many years, but now more than ever these words come to life:
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT)
In reading this and reflecting on what it means, I have come to the realization that true love must cost us something. To love is actually a decision one has to make over and over again. It is easy to love when all is well, but when the ones we care about begin to display the less favorable parts of themselves, that is when the true condition of our heart towards them become known. As human beings we are naturally inclined to be selfish and constantly seek out our own happiness, but in love there is no room for selfishness. True love requires a daily, sometimes moment-to-moment, commitment to self-sacrifice. The act of loving may very well be painful at times (no I’m not talking about subjecting yourself to any form of abuse), but in my experience, what one gains on the other end makes the pain worthwhile.
It might have been easy for Jesus to say to his father, “hey look man, there is no way I'm going through with all of this suffering and pain for these people who probably won't even care about what I’ve done for them.” But I believe it was his understanding of the nature of true love that caused him to willingly make the sacrifice that he did. He understood that true love is costly!
Would you join me on this challenging, yet amazing journey of demonstrating and experiencing true love by following the One who modeled the ultimate form of sacrificial love? The love we are called to show pales in comparison to the perfect love he gave!
WHAT IS LOVE COSTING YOU?