One of you routs a thousand, because the LORD your God fights for you, just as he promised. So be very careful to love the LORD your God.
Christ set us free from the law of sin when He died on the cross.
This was and is His greatest gift of love to us. He gave His all for us, so how can we do less than give our all to Him? As we give Him our love, we need to remember that love and obedience go hand in hand. Just as children are more willing to obey when they know that they are loved, we return God’s love through obedience.
Jesus commands us to love. It is through our obedience that love reaches fulfillment. The ultimate display of Christ’s love was His obedience to die on the cross. He lay His life down for us because of His great love for us: As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. (John 15:9-10) Jesus told his disciples to love one another as He has loved us and to demonstrate love by laying our lives down for others. In the self-centered world in which we live, this is a tall order!
What does it mean to lay our lives down for one another? I believe that when we consider the interests of others above our own interests, we are displaying true love. When our world is no longer “us” centered but “other” centered, the love of Christ flows through us. It is difficult to die to self, and yet Christ tells us that it is through taking up His cross – dying to self – that we are united with Him: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24) The key to following Christ and becoming Christlike is denying oneself. As we love Christ and take up His cross of self-denial, we will in turn love others selflessly.
Heavenly Father, I surrender to Your love. Such love is impossible for me to comprehend! Help me to love You with all of my heart, soul, and mind, and to love my neighbor as myself. In Jesus’ name, Amen