Saturday, February 8, 2014

(40 Days of Focus) Day 35: "Lay it Down"

Read: “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13, NLT).  
Think About It: A man who had once made his home on the dreary streets of metropolitan city in the “Rust Belt” of America had sent an email to the pastor of a local church:

“Wanted to take this time to say ‘thank you’ to you and your family. Also want to thank people from church who make me feel special when I stop by Sunday and when not there they tell me I was missed. Also [woman] who God placed upon her heart to start up a group to help divorced & separated to reconnect with God & hopefully save marriages. She is doing an AWESOME JOB. I was only guy there but when, at any time she would want me to give my opinion, I would do so cause what the group offered. I actually learned something! Being in one church is very hard for me ‘cause I don't open up much, but the lady who lead the group was the only one that started to open me up. Trusting people is scary for me. Been hurt too many times by people. This church is where I have heard music that blesses my heart and preaching I can relate to that will help me grow---thank you.”

Going Deeper: It’s easy to apply the “greater love” statement of Jesus and how one should show that love by “laying down one’s life for one’s friend” by limiting it those that have given their lives in battle, as martyrs, or as Christ, Himself, on the cross. The message Jesus shared from His heart is one that goes much deeper. The challenge is how one lives in a consistent manner of laying down one’s life for another. To lay down your life, is to lay down your pride. It’s to lay down the right to enforce every one of your ideas or your opinions, or your agenda. It means lifting up someone else, seeing the best in those that have a hard time seeing it in themselves, and helping others find a success that would have been easier to claim for yourself. There is a form of love, an appearance of love, and an attempt at love that can easily be seen all across the culture. From the silver screen to the TV screen, from commercials to internet advertisements, and from talk-shows to the songs of night-time radio, it is undeniably clear that there is a world that is hungry for love. Jesus has called the Church to live, not just a “love” that is perceived as conditional, but a greater love that sees Jesus as its source and people as its pursuit. When you lay down your life, so that another might live, that’s love.

Next Step: How can you apply this truth in everyday life? As you are asking God that question, ask Him to reveal someone to you that perhaps you have overlooked. Maybe they didn’t strike you as interested or perhaps, even unintentionally, they fell into a preconceived stereotype you didn’t realize you had. Is it possible there are those in your path that you’ve thought about involving or including in something you were doing, but thought it inconvenient and you’re still waiting a for a “better” time? Lay it down. Let the time be now. Allow your own life to be blessed and changed as you see another begin to come alive. That’s a friend. That’s love.

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