This is the first year of my life I prepared my heart for celebrating Christmas by paying attention to the church practice of advent during the four Sundays in December. I have been sobered by the HOPE of our adoption, challenged by the FAITH of Mary and Elizabeth, and have been practicing PEACE. This week, the final week, we ponder LOVE.
What I have been thinking about all week is that LOVE DIES.
Probably the most famous Bible verse is John 3:16: For God so LOVED the world that He gave His only Son.
Yes, but that Son came to die.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; Rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death– even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8)
Jesus was born to die. He not only died on a cross at the end of his life, He died every minute of every day to do the will of His Father. That is why He was a perfect sacrifice for our sins.
He died to His Father’s will. He died to love me, so I die now too.
- When my husband wakes up earlier that I want to, and he needs my help to get out the door and needs me to do some things for him during the day, my love dies for him. What is best for my husband and our relationship over the long-haul is that I help.
- When my son needs help with homework each evening when I have my own work to do and I am bone tired, my love dies for him. What is best for my son and our relationship is that I help.
- When my church needs a speaker and I already have an overload at work and have an excuse not to serve the women in my church, my love dies for the ladies in my church. What is best for the kingdom of God and the body of Christ is that each Christ follower operates effectively so, together, we shine brightly to the world around us.
- When people do something that hurts, offends, surprises, inconveniences, demands my energy, ruins my day, or even changes the trajectory of my life, my love dies and forgives, because Jesus forgave me of everything too.
When each of us needed a Savior and were helpless to save ourselves,
Christ loved us so deeply He died.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
I don’t know your circumstances, but know this, Jesus proved His love for you when He died on the cross for your particular sins before you were even conceived. This season I am seeing the birth of Jesus with a sober spirit. Our sin caused the need for Christ to die. What a great price He paid for us!
Let’s respond with the greatest commandment of all — love God and love people. The world is telling us to look out for ourselves, have boundaries, seek balance and follow our dreams. There is room to consider each of these….
but I always hit this snag.
If Jesus had looked out for Himself, had boundaries, lived a balanced life, and followed His own dreams other than His Father’s, we wouldn’t have a Savior.
Because love dies.
Let’s appreciate God’s love for us this week, and let’s exhibit that same level of love to all people too.
Picture Explanation: From my home to yours. Whatever your circumstances this year, let Jesus be your Christmas. Let Him love you. Let Him be the gift. Let Him be present with you.
© 2018 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved.