Saturday, January 21, 2012

P4E.231 Love = Self Sacrifice Part 8

I am the last person who should be writing about self sacrificial love, because I have so little experience. What will follow, then, are humble suggestions; a few from my poor experience and some from my imagination.
My third suggestion for loving self sacrificially is this:

Do Work. Put Yourself Out. Make It Hurt.

There is precedence for this suggestion. Jesus said, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working." He also said "We must work the works of Him who sent Me, as long as it is day; night is coming when no man can work." If you're like me you may be wondering, just how do I do that?

When asked "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus' answer was, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent." Again, I want to know, on a day to day basis, what would that look like?

If I can use a physical example to explain a spiritual concept, I liken it to a weight lifting regimen where whatever work I put in benefits not only my own body, but also the body of the one I love. So, every time I do a spiritual bench press, not only does my spirit benefit, but so does the one I love.

To be more plain, let's say that my wife accidentally breaks a prize possession of mine. The work before me is to show my belief in Christ by expressing my love for my wife by sacrificing my rights and natural inclination to get upset over the loss of the thing. Give up the impulse to criticize and judge her care in handling the thing. Not berate her and make her feel worse for the loss. The work is to show self-sacrificial love.

My natural inclination is to come home from a hard days' work and expect to physically, emotionally and spiritually let down. To take some time for myself. Watch a ballgame on TV. To rest and relax. To be served dinner. This is the point at which I say, "Put Yourself Out. Make it Hurt." Because, when I get home, I find that there are loved ones there who have physical, emotional and, above all, spiritual needs to be met. So, instead of letting down, it's time to step up, be a man, shoulder the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the ones I love. Yes, I put my own need for rest and recreation on the back burner in favor of helping clean the house, coaching through homework, providing support by listening to the details of an emotional burden.

It is simply impossible to express true love without some inconvenience, some pain, some testing, some sacrifice. When we cherish someone with deep affection, we use the adjective, "Dear." The adverb of the same word means "to come at a high cost," as in "they buy land cheaply and sell dear." So, the expression of love comes at a high price. This is why Paul said to the Galatians, "Consider it all joy...when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance..." Because, not only do those whom I love benefit by my physical, emotional, and spiritual exertion, I do too!

More to follow...

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