Death to self is life


                “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15: 12-13.)


                God’s commandment to His disciples was to love one another in the exact manner that He had loved them.  Of all of the different kinds of love, God identified the greatest love to be self-sacrifice; the very love that Jesus Christ portrayed upon the cross.  True love could only come through the denial of the self.  He was commanding his followers to crucify themselves daily, by denying their own wants and needs to provide for the wants and needs of others.  All those who were, and are disciples of the Lord, should manifest selflessness as the proof that the Love of Christ is in them.

                Everyone wants to be heard.  Children naturally have a difficult time listening instead of talking. As they grow old, they learn to be listeners.  Yet even as adults, the majority of people still enjoy being the topic of discussion.  Some people are so self-centered it’s difficult to speak with them because conversation is not a two-way-street; it’s a long dark alley with no exits.  However, disciples learn to make others the focus of conversation.  They ask more questions (with more sincerity), and become active listeners.  Their own wants, needs, and desires become secondary; they in essence die, and in turn, they can nurture and love others.  Anyone who is more concerned with their own wants, needs and desires, cannot love others as Christ has commanded them, and in turn, they cannot be his disciples.  In order to live and love as Christ we must die.  Paul wrote, “To live as Christ, to die is gain.”  To die is the way to life. 

                In conversation today, are you a listener, or a talker?  Are you a giver, or a taker?  Are you dying, or are you living?  The less concerned you are with yourself, the more you can manifest the love of Christ.  There are many areas where you can die.  You can give up the time you spend in recreation to serve others (not necessarily all your time.)  You can pray for others instead of yourself.  You can listen to others instead of talking.  You can spend your extra money on others.  You can love where you used to hate, and give where you used to take.  You can show God’s love, the greatest love, to a world who needs it desperately.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You and we ask that You would help us to die; to lay down our lives for our friends and strangers.  Give us a strong desire to esteem others above ourselves, and to show the Love of Your Son to all those who need it.  Reveal opportunities in our lives where we can improve, and become more selfless; more like You.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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