From time to time, we hear in the media about individuals who have carried out a great act of bravery, putting their own lives at risk, or possibly even losing their own lives in order to save someone else’s. Modern day heroes, they are called.
It is truly great to be able to value others’ lives as greater than one’s own. In fact, we read in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Jesus Himself had sacrificed His own life in order to save others.
But what about me, in my small, daily situations? I may never come into a scenario where I even have the opportunity to perform some great act of heroism or valor, deserving of a Medal of Honor or even recognition. How can I then “lay down my life for my friends”, like it says in the verse? How can I truly love the others, especially those who are closest to me?
More than what is required
The answer is not complicated; it’s quite simple really. My “life” consists of everything I hold dear to myself—my own will, my opinions, my desires and demands. When I lay that all aside and instead think of the others’ best, then that is indeed a selfless act, and there is no greater love than that. No amount of material things or spoken words can signify greater love.
... a selfless act, and there is no greater love than that
“But through love, serve one another.” Galatians 5:13. Instead of pursuing the things that satisfy me, I become awake and aware of the needs of others. Such a love compels me to do more than what is required. It is unconditional. It gives and gives and is not selfish. It causes me to forget my own thoughts and feelings, and instead turn my thoughts towards others.
This love is inventive. It drives me out of my comfort zone and enables me to take the risk of letting go of how I think things should be, and how I want the others to treat me. When has holding onto my own opinion ever brought peace and harmony into a situation?
A hero in spirit and in truth
We have an example of a true hero in the Bible – Timothy. Paul writes about Timothy that there was “no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus.” Phil. 2:20-21.
How deeply it lies in human nature to seek my own, to defend myself and to protect my honor! That is not love! Love is to lay my own life down. We also know that it is written in God’s Word, “Give and it will be given to you.” Luke 6:38. When I give up my own will, I receive great joy and peace in my heart. Then I can honestly say that I love people, and I become a victor, a hero, in spirit and in truth!