Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Laying Down Your Life

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:12-13)

For some reason this afternoon on my drive home from work, John 15:13 popped into my head. I'm not sure what prompted the thought, other than divine intervention, so we'll just say that God wanted to speak to me about this verse.

For a long time I thought that laying down one's life for his friends referred to the supreme sacrifice of dying in place of another. And while I do believe that is part of what Jesus is referring to, I now also believe that it's more than that.

Take a look at the preceding verse, where Jesus commands His disciples to love each other in the same way that He had loved them. Now, at the time of His saying that, He had not yet died for the world. Obviously He had demonstrated love to them in other ways preceding His ultimate show of love in the crucifixion.

Laying down your life is not merely a physical death, but a death to self as well. It is putting aside our own desires and will in exchange for someone else's. It may be giving up our desire for a quiet evening at home so that we can spend time with a lonely friend. It may be making a financial sacrifice to help someone else. It may be yielding to someone else's judgment when their way of doing things is not our preferred method.

This death to self is a vital part of any successful relationship, whether a dating or marriage relationship, parent/child relationship, friendship, or co-worker relationship. And it's especially critical in our relationship with God, who knows more than anyone the value of sacrifice.

I imagine that very few of us will ever be called to physically give up our lives so that another may live. But we are all called to lay down our lives in various ways, every day. Today, ask God to open your eyes to ways to lay down your life for someone else.


That Girl said...

Very good thoughts, Lisa. I have been in relationships where I didn't want to 'lay down my life' for the other person. Probably because the relationship wasn't that important to me. I have also been in relationships where the joy of that other person was all I hoped to see. A mutual 'dying' is what brings about a successful loving relationship.

Snapshot said...

Amen to the article and the comment.

Gina Burgess said...

Excellent, Lisa. Our socitey today is far to selfish... I believe it is why our divorce rate is so high!