John 15:13 – “A Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” NASU
Jesus went on to say in the next verse “You are My friends…” He laid down His life for us. As John 3:16 tells us His act was an expression of LOVE both by the Father and the Son so that you and I could have access to the Eternal Presence of God. What Amazing Love!
To lay down one’s life for another is the highest tribute that could be paid to the individual who has been died for. I know what it is like to have someone step in front of danger to protect you. I have experienced that kind of love and commitment and it forever changed me in ways that I am still discovering. I have heard family members pray to God to allow them to suffer the disease and death that was coming to their loved one. Why did they do it? Was it out of some false sense of nobility and self-sacrifice? No, it was out of LOVE! They loved enough that if it were possible they would step in and take the death that another was facing. Jesus did that for us. He went to the Cross and paid the penalty for our sin, a penalty that He did not deserve or merit in any way but He willingly paid our debt out of LOVE!
When I consider what God has done for me, how could I not Love Him? How could I not serve Him? How could I reject Him? When I came to Christ and received Him as my savior I went through a period of days and weeks in which I was the most condemned and miserable person on the planet. I knew I was lost and that is the first step to receiving salvation. You cannot help a man be found that does not know he is lost. I knew that I was headed for hell and believed the lie that I had done too much to be forgiven.
I won’t say as I heard a person testify in church, “Lord, I’ve broken all the commandments.” No, but I had done far more than my youthful years should have. I had survived Vietnam and was struggling with who I was, where I fit, and what I was to do in life. I found that nothing satisfied me, for very long not money, not job, not relationships – NOTHING! Then I fell under such conviction and my heart so condemned me that I despaired of life itself but can honestly say I did not consider suicide. Now, admittedly, had that state of mind continued for a long period of time that would have produced those kinds of thoughts, but thank God I did not go that long.
Through the encouragement of a person who loved me in spite of my meanness I read Proverbs 3:5-6 after midnight on a Saturday night in Palestine, Texas and as I read that passage the light came on and I knew that I could be forgiven. I experienced God’s forgiveness and love and the world lifted off my shoulders and I felt like I could float in the air. That was the most incredible night of my life and I have been thanking God for over forty years for that love, mercy, forgiveness, grace, and pardon. It was LOVE that lifted me. LOVE spared my life. LOVE rewrote my life. LOVE transformed me for the vile creature that I was to a born-again child of the King! I AM SAVED! Hallelujah!
If you are struggling right now, know that God loves you enough that He was willing to allow His Son to die on the Cross for you. Jesus loves you enough that He was willing to endure the Cross. So, instead of reaching for the bottom lift up your eyes and allow the Holy Spirit to minister the Love of God to you right now!
May God be with you as you go through your day!