When you hear the phrase “lay down your life” what thought or thoughts come to mind? Some may picture themselves pushing a child out of the way of an oncoming truck, sacrificing their own mortal life to spare the child. Jesus laid down His mortal life so that our lives could be spared. In this case, our lives will be spared with Him forever. These are incredible acts of love which, obviously, can’t be repeated.
When John says we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters, he’s not necessarily talking about a show of love that’s “one-and-done”. Consider that, from the moment He laid down His heavenly life to suffer the filth and infirmities of the world, Jesus continued to lay down his royal life for us on a daily basis. This gives us more clarity in John’s message to us today. To know what love really is, we have to know that Jesus continually laid down his life for us and we must follow Him in his footsteps.
Practically speaking, when you meet someone, one of the first questions you’re asked is “What do you do?”. The first thing you say in reply gives them (and you) a window into your life. Is your life what you do to make money? Is your life a pursuit of that next material gain that’s finally going to make your life complete (as if that were possible)? Is your life urgently meeting your own needs and wants and reaching out to the needy with somewhat less urgency? John would ask you if you see your brother or sister in need and have no compassion, how can the love of God be in you? In truth, it can’t.
Think about your life today and what exactly your life is. Is your life selfish or selfless? As you walk out your life with Jesus, what tangible ways will you consistently lay down your life each and every day until He returns?
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. -1 John 3:18