Lay Down Your Life

John 15:10-12 10If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions], you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commandments and live on in His love.  11I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing.  12This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you.  13No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends
Again we see that we are to love one another. It is not suggested or recommended, but commanded. There is a difference. If you are a parent you know that there are some things you might suggest or simply say to your kids- “it’s time to take a bath”, “go to sleep”, but other things are commanded and directly ordered- “don’t play in the street!”, “Don’t go near the swimming pool!” Generally when a command is given it is ultimately for the benefit of the person who it is given to. When you command your kids not to play in the street it isn’t because you don’t want them to have a good time, but rather, because you don’t want them to get hit by a car. We have to understand that loving one another ultimately benefits us. Look at verse 11I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing.  When we learn to love one another as Jesus loves us, it brings joy to our lives. ….
The last part of this passage says that the best way to show love for others is to lay down our lives for them. This doesn’t only mean in a literal sense. When we give up what we want for another’s benefit, that’s laying down our life.  Romans 12:9-10 says 9[Let your] love be sincere (a real thing); hate what is evil [loathe all ungodliness, turn in horror from wickedness], but hold fast to that which is good.  10Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another. To give precedence means we treat others with greater importance than we treat ourselves. I have had to really examine my own life even in writing this devotional. Do I always do what is best for other people or do I do what is best for myself first, then others? Sometimes we may look at our lives and think, “I really do prefer others”, or “I do what is best for those around me without thought for myself”. BUT, what about for those who are the closest to us- our children, our spouses, our best and dearest friends, our parents…. Do we get so familiar with those in our immediate circle that we forget to prefer them on a regular basis?  I can think of a specific example today. I got upset at my husband for something, and I believe I genuinely had every right for it. However, I was so focused on how he made me feel and how his actions affected me that I didn’t even want to hear his explanation. If I was walking in love I would have immediately forgiven, forgotten and gone on with life. This would have benefitted both of us. He wouldn’t have had to listen to me get on his case, and I wouldn’t have been upset all morning.  It is so important to constantly evaluate ourselves to make sure we are in fact showing love to everyone in our lives. Today I challenge you to take inventory of your life, consciously observe your own behavior and see if there are areas in your love walk that need to be adjusted…..

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