I’m planning a Bible study on 1 John 3:14-18. Verse 16 says this: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” [brothers means other Christians, by the way!]
Most of us have probably never had the opportunity to actually die for our Christian brothers and sisters. But that’s not the point. It’s not saying that we should spend our lives waiting for some opportunity to lay down our lives for a fellow Christian. It’s just saying that’s how far we should be willing to go. When we’re thinking to ourselves, ‘how much should I be willing to give up for my fellow Christians?’, the answer is right there in verse 16. We should be willing to give up everything up to and including our lives. I think that, all too often, I’m waiting for some big chance to make a showy sacrifice for a fellow Christian; maybe a wad of cash for a needy missionary, or a big chunk of time for some annoying person at church (these things would surely show what a great Christian I am…) But the fact of the matter is, I have opportunities EVERY DAY to be a loving Christian. I have chances to show love in all sorts of small ways. What’s the point of waiting for that moment when I can save a fellow Christian from an out-of-control bus, or dive into shark infested waters to pull them out, if I can’t even be bothered to say something nice to them at church, or give them a ring during the week when I know they’re struggling? Laying down my life doesn’t just apply to how I die, it applies to how I live. It’s all very well being willing to die for someone, but it may well be a better use of your time to live for them while you wait…
Who makes sacrifices for you? Have you thanked them recently? If not, do so in the next few days.
Is there someone you can think of who you can lay something in your life down for?
How can you follow Jesus’ example better?
This is one of the many posts I’m a bit reluctant to write, because I feel that, by writing it, people might mistakenly think I’ve got it all sussed. I haven’t. You could tear me to shreds on my answers to any of the questions above. I’m trying though. Mostly.