The test is love, John says, is laying down my life for my brothers and sisters.
Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.1 John 3:16 KJV
The NLT version replaces “lay down” with “give up.” I’m not sure which words resonate more with your vocabulary, but neither version allows us off the hook of real life self denial.
Do I really love people, my people? Laying down my life doesn’t just mean one grand heroic “I will risk my own death to save you from drowning (burning, falling)!” Laying down my life means giving up my selfish desires for others’ good… again, and again, and again.
So, it’s test time. How gladly do I…
- crawl out of bed to comfort my girlies back to sleep… again? or allow my husband to keep sleeping because he can’t get a nap tomorrow like I can?
- share that solo piece of cheesecake someone gave?
- put down my phone to listen to my child?
- pack a lunch, again?
- cook supper, again?
- put away clean laundry, again?
- relinquish evening plans because a friend desperately needs help?
- discipline my daughter (again) without getting all frustrated and growly at her?
- interact with the social misfit at risk of my own reputation?
- listen to incessant chatter on topics I’ve already heard again and again and again?
- take the spoiling of my holiday plans?
That’s an abbreviated love test for me. There are many more items that could be added, some bigger, some much smaller (but somehow just as hard. I mean, really, how hard should it be to still love your daughter when she’s pulling on your skirt or chewing with her mouth open?!).
I’m not sure I get a passing grade. So often I claim to be selfless and loving, but grrr, that little sin you just committed grates on my nerves….
Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.1 John 3:18 NLT
I have some love homework to work on; how about you?