From Pastor Brady
God is love. And love is self- sacrifice. Love is seeking the good of others, rather than seeking what is best for me. But the great paradox of love is that when we seek what is best for others, we in turn are doing what is best for us. This is because love is what we are wired to be.
Love is the supreme ethic of the universe. It is what God requires of us and what God pours out on us. The giving of self is literally what keeps life going. God built self- sacrifice into all of nature. A plant gives its seed and we get more plants and fruit and food. A plant gives off oxygen and we breathe. We too must give for plants to live and for people to live. Nothing good in this life happens without self- sacrificing love. There is no justice without giving up something for others. There is no forgiveness without giving something of yourself for the one you must forgive. There is no mercy without the sacrifice of self. And there is no worship without the giving of yourself and your “first fruits.”
But behind all of this giving there must be the right heart attitude. Without the patience and kindness that our Fighter Verse mentions, is my giving truly self-sacrifice? If my self-sacrifice is surrounded by envious, boastful, arrogant, rude, selfish, and resentful attitudes is it really self-sacrificing love?
What if Jesus went to the cross thinking “I can’t believe I have to die for all these jerks.” Or, “When this is over, I’m gonna make everyone love me back.”
No. Jesus died for the world even though the majority of the world may reject his love. He died when we were still his enemies. He didn’t even die to gain glory. It is the Father that orchestrates the glorification of the Son. Jesus died so that he might bring glory to the Father and share that glory with you.
All Jesus does is give. And love. And sacrifice. And He does it patiently and kindly. Without envying, and without being rude. Without insisting. Without resenting.
Is that how you give of yourself? I know you sacrifice a lot for others, most of us do. But do we do it in true kindness and patience? Without envying, and manipulating, and expecting something in return and being resentful when we don’t get it? Does your heart match your actions? If not, it’s not really love. It’s manipulation, control, or co-dependence.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 1 Corinthians 13:4-5
May our self- sacrifice flow from a true heart of love. A love that seeks what is best for the other person. A love that results in the worship and glorifying of God and His goodness. A love that heals our hearts and teaches us to live outside of our own demands.