© by Joyce C. Lock
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
Sometimes it seems God asks the nearly impossible; His standards being so high that the average week kneed, belly aching, fearful person could never obtain ... defeating ourselves even before we've begun. Perhaps we don't listen carefully to what He said.
Jesus didn't say we had to "give up" our lives, like victims with a gun pointing to our head. It's rare that anyone actually faces a life or death situation to protect a friend (aside from war).
What Jesus actually did mean was to lay our life down willfully, dying to self to meet a greater need - which only counts when done in love.
When a phone call comes at 2:00 a.m. where the distraught seeking counseling, put aside your need of rest.
When you have in mind a shopping spree except you see another without shoes, consider their need first.
When you've planned a getaway weekend but your friend has emergency surgery, a house full of children, and no one to care for them - put off your plans.
When someone's house burns down and they've no place to go, lay down your inconvenience to offer temporary shelter.
When you're hungry after a worship service but the church bus breaks down (leaving children no way home), put your need on hold.
When someone you love needs your love, lay down your life. Love them as Jesus has loved you (vs. 12). And, even when they're not your best friend, Jesus is.
We don't have to meet every need in the universe, just the ones Jesus asks of us (vs. 14). We can all do that. Once we discover how wonderful it is to be messengers of love, we're eager to serve God more (Ac. 20:35).
The purpose of this series is to encourage people to live as loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God: Jesus tells us to pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10) God tells us through Micah (6:8), "He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God." And we know from Revelation 21:4 that there will be no more mourning, or crying, or pain, or death. Thus, Christian living requires us to set the standards of these conditions here on earth for our fellow human beings, and for the other animals, as a witness to the rest of the world. To do otherwise is not Christian.