Read: 1 John 3:10-18
For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. (1 John 3:11)
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:16)
Jesus said to “love your neighbour” was the second most important command of God, superseded only by the command to love God. At the Last Supper, which Christians remember and celebrate tomorrow (on Maundy Thursday), Jesus told his disciples he was giving them a new command: “Love one another.” John repeats Jesus’ commands here.
But what does it mean to love? According to Jesus’ perfect example, to love means to “lay down our lives” for our brothers and sisters, our fellow believers. We must share with other Christians in need. We must love actively, truthfully. I must share generously. I must love actively, truthfully, compassionately, sacrificially.
I was telling someone today about my husband’s flight over Antarctica, which he did a year ago with a dear neighbour and friend, without me. The other person said their spouse would never let them do such a thing because they’d be too jealous. Something was even mentioned about scratching eyes out, I think. But love is not envious, nor self-seeking. I was happy to release Jeff to his exciting flight because I love him and I want him to experience joy.
In the same way, my husband loves me and is generous rather than jealous with me. In the last few weeks, Jeff has said I can fly overseas in June for two and a half weeks for the Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference. Jeff has committed to parenting our four children without me for the weeks I’ll be gone, and he’s freed up the money from our income so I could buy flights to get there. He’s suggested I visit a friend and bring her to the conference with me, and committed funds for her to join me so I won’t be alone. He’s even encouraged me to do some exciting touristy things while I’m there and helped me find the best way of doing them in keeping with my personal limitations. This is abundantly generous love. This is sacrificial love, and it springs from what Christ has done for both of us, not just from our mutual married love.
Love is generous. Love gives unreservedly. Love is happy to see the beloved rejoicing. Love shares whatever it has. May I love like this.
I start loving because Jesus laid down his life for me.
LORD God Almighty,
You are love and you have shown me true love in the generous, humble actions of your Son.
Thank you for your love, for the love of your Son, and for the love of my husband in imitation of the Son.
Please make me like Jesus. Let me learn from him how to love rightly. Make me willing to lay down my life for the good of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
Help me to be willing to give my time, my money, my attention, my skills, even my future for those who need them. Please help me to give up my aspirations that are selfish, my habits that get in the way of relationships, my hobbies that take up what you want me to give away. Make me generous with all you have given me.
May I be especially willing to give away knowledge of the gospel!