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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Without Expectation of Return

            “You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35, NLT).
            “I love you,” God imparts, “even when you have decided you don't love me. I love you even when you have belittled my grace, and turned away from my love which died for you. I love you even though you cannot forgive. I love you in your sin. I died for that sin which separates you from my love. I died so you might be set free. I gave everything for you to know my love and to share it freelyI gave my life so that you would understand that your love is all about others.”

            “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” Paul writes. “Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10, NIV). Even though Jesus' love was all about me, my love is not! His love is the greatest example of giving my life away. He gave everything for me. My love should be completely about others. My love should honor His sacrifice, and the needs, hurts, and pain of others. His love is not about what I might want or think I need. If I honor His sacrifice and love for me, I give without expecting anything in return.

            Jesus Christ was the son of God, but He did not insist on any rights. He gave up all His rights on Calvary. He put me before Himself. As Bill Snow once said, “Jesus had a non-survivalist attitude.” He lived for others. He did not demand His own way. “Rights are where survivors go,” William Young writes, “so they don't have to work out relationships.” Life is about living out relationships, and Jesus revealed how to love others no matter how they respond in return. Christ's love is all about extending undeserved grace. He did not deserve to die for me, and extend me undeserved grace, but He chose to offer it! He knew that if I chose to honor the gift of His life by giving my own away, I would discover precious truths. In giving myself away, I would receive the joy of sacrifice. In dying to self, I would learn to live victoriously and completely in Him.

            Do I really believe that it is more blessed to give than to receive? Do I put another person first?  Are my desires second? Do I give to another person without expecting anything in return? Does my attitude depend on how another person responds to me? Or is my attitude that of Christ? Even though He had all the power to save Himself, He chose to become a sacrifice for me. One day I will stand before the Lord who gave everything for me. In that one moment the love I gave on earth will face the love of God in its revealing clarity. In that moment, I will know if it was enough.

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