Bearing the fruit of sacrificial love
"The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people."—G.K. Chesterton
At the very beginning of Jesus’ farewell discourse, He said, “Hey, a new commandment I give to you, love each other as I have loved you. This is how they’ll know you’re My disciples.” He was telling them to love the way He loved. Is that possible? NO! So, why did He tell us to do it? Because He was assuming we would be abiding in Him; that we would remain in Him, so that Jesus would be doing the love through us.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this:Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”—John 15:10-13
“Remaining in Christ,” just as a branch must remain in the vine, bears supernatural fruit: obedient, joy-saturated acts that can only be attributed to Jesus. Sacrificial love is one of those fruit. It is not an option, but rather a natural outpouring of Christ’s love for others when we allow Him to live through us… and this speaks louder to the world than any words. We are described and we are defined as His disciples by this love moving through us—and note that this is all spoken to us as a group. It’s not one big vine, with one little branch (you) on it. It’s a vine covered with branches (all of us!), and these branches, as we abide in Christ, produce fruit of many kinds... and one of the fruit we produce is love, true Christ-like, sacrificial, grace-laden love.
Has God placed a neighbor or an enemy in your path today?
Oh Jesus, You love me just like the Father loves You. I want to remain in that love, I want that joy, I want the obedience that springs forth from being a branch on Your vine. Well, I sort of want that! In all honesty, my flesh wants to judge and condemn and punish! But I choose to give in to Your love instead. I shout out that I no longer live, but You live in me! Love others through me just as You love me—I need You to do this through me—that I would joyfully lay down my life for others.
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