For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
This is the sixth installment in a series of meditations on The Behavior of Love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 has provided us with the bulk of the instruction on the expression of Christian love. Today we turn our attention to the epitome of love as modeled by God through the gift of His Son. Love doesn’t go any deeper and come with any greater expression than this: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The highest expression of love is…sacrificial love.
The behavior of love reaches its pinnacle through personal sacrifice for another.
Jesus put it this way, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) So let’s unwrap this precious gem and look at the many facets of its magnificent beauty.
As in the previous lessons, I recommend you write down some statements that express your willingness to demonstrate sacrificial love to others. How will your sacrificial love be revealed in your behavior toward those you love? Following are some of the statements that have come to my mind:
Love is sacrificial
- “Everything that I have is yours.”
- “I will deny myself that you might have.”
- “Even when I’m tired and weary I will find time for you.”
- “I will always give you my best.”
- “Your needs come before my needs.”
- “No personal goals, plans, dreams, or possessions are more important than you.”
- “You will never go without.”
- “If ever necessary, I would give my life for you.”
- “I’m not just going to hang around for the rest of your life, I’m going to be there, through good times and bad times.”
- “If the quality of your life ever deteriorates I will surrender the quality of my life to care for you.”
Sacrificial love is inseparable love.
It is the superglue that results in everlasting love. It is love that truly is “for better or for worse.” That everlasting bond is epitomized by God’s love for you through Jesus Christ. “…neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39) Sacrificial love then is all about commitment.
Sacrificial love holds nothing back and willingly gives all for the security and well-being of another.
Where love is real, sacrificial love should come naturally. In fact, if you are incapable of sacrificial love then you are suffering from a spiritual problem. To be rightly connected to God, who is love, is to have the capacity to love sacrificially. It is all about who you are in Jesus Christ.
I have witnessed amazing demonstrations of sacrificial love in action. A father and mother who gave their all sacrificing the quality of their lives to care for their debilitated adult daughter. A daughter who put her life on hold to care for her disabled father. A wife who faithfully cared for her husband as his life slowly deteriorated from cancer. Parents who spent every penny and exhausted every resource to find a doctor and medicine that would cure their child from a dreadful disease.
Sacrificial love endures, persists, and doesn’t give up. It has a “whatever it takes” mentality.
It often comes with a lot of tears, heartache, mental anguish, and grief. But the power of love drives you, keeps you going, and keeps you working for the one you love.
If you were ever to ask these people who have been thrust into the caregiver role if they regretted giving up so much for another they would all give you the same answer. They would tell you that it was worth it. Although it was often painful and discouraging…it was still love. For them, there was no other way.
Sacrificial love has no limitations or boundaries.
It continues through the greatest challenges and in the most difficult circumstances.
Our journey through the many qualities of love has brought us here to the pinnacle of love. May your life be filled with this kind of sacrificial love. It is the quality of love that is most like that of the love of God.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
For more on this topic, check out this article: The Most Precious Words Ever Spoken
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.