As disciples, our love should imitate Jesus loves for us. But what exactly does that look like. In other words, how are we to love others as an imitation of Jesus’ love?
How are We to Love Others As an Imitation of Jesus’ Love?
(1) Jesus’ Love is Self-Sacrificial
Smack dab in the middle of the verse 16 in 1 John 3, John says:
“[Jesus] laid down his life for us.” (1 Jn. 3:16b)
Then John goes on to tell us, based on what Jesus did, we ought to lay our life down for others. When he says that, he doesn’t mean we should all go out and kill ourselves for the benefit of others. While Jesus gave up His physical life for others, He gave up much more than that. He also sacrificed His desires, what he could have been, what He could have done, for our benefit; for our good.
So when we talk about loving others self-sacrificially, we aren’t talking about us offing ourselves for another. Instead we are talking about something more. We are talking about dying to self for the good of others.
When I think of someone who sacrificed for another like this, I think of Lloyd Latimer, who is Jen’s granddad. About 8 or so years ago, his wife Ruth, who just recently passed, suffered a stroke. She survived but was physically limited. One side of her body was paralyzed.
This happened when they were in their 80’s. But even though he was getting up in age, he didn’t want to put his wife in a nursing home, so he committed to take care of her. For about 8 years he did. He cooked all their meals, got all the groceries, cleaned the house, took her to all her doctor’s appointments. He bathed her, took her to the bathroom, and even dressed her. Everyday, 24 hours a day, he took care of her.
In order to do that, he had to make some sacrifices. He had to give up his wants, his comfort, his desires for his wife’s. He did that — he was willing to die to self — because he loved his wife.
So when we talk about love being self-sacrificial, what we are talking about is dying to self for the good of others, which tells us love is more than a feeling. Love is an action.
Question for Reflection
- How have you loved someone self-sacrificially?
Post adapted from the sermon Love Others – Growth through discipleship – week 3