Prayer Focus: December 2012
A Journey to Justice
Love is Sacrifice
‘I have found that love is a lot more closely related to work than to play. It has a lot more to do with being a servant than with being a hero. When I set about the task of loving, I usually end up giving instead of receiving. Love inevitably costs me something, usually the three commodities most precious to me – my time, my energy and my money. I do not easily part with these resources, because I have them in limited quantities.
‘Tell me how to show love without spending time, energy or money and I will gladly sign up. Tell me that love means sacrifice, however, and I become reluctant to commit myself. Maybe that is why some Christians emphasize the fun, fellowship and fulfillment aspects of Christianity without ever mentioning the sacrifice. It is high time to strip away the false glamour that the world – and sometimes the church – puts on loving. It’s time to tell the truth: true love is sacrificial.
‘The most famous verse in the Bible, John 3:16, gives the biblical definition of love: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Because God was concerned with the wellbeing of people who were precious to him, he gave – he sacrificed – his only Son; and when you are concerned about the wellbeing of others, you usually have to sacrifice too. You may have to expend your time, your energy or your money for them. You may have to give up your plans, your independence or your privacy. To love as God loves, you may have to part with whatever is most precious to you for the sake of other people.’ – Bill Hybels, Who You Are When No One’s Looking
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace – Isaiah 9:6 (NIV).
We have a gift – the gift of love. God, who gave us the gift of his son, who is love, is able to create within us a love that draws a response willing to pay the costs associated with loving – our time, our energy. A love that shapes my plans and makes me prepared to pay the cost!
Lord you have bathed us in so much love. We pray that we will not live as a people unloved and unloving, unaware of or denying the greatness of your gift of love. We ask that your love will become so real in us that we live with confidence in your presence, knowing that in your love we are safe and able to be adventurous and engage a world that is demanding and, at times, disappointing or that generates our anger. May we be the channels of your love to our age, prepared to pay the cost.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
while we were still sinners, Christ died for us – Romans 5:8 (NIV).