All for You—Surrender, Sacrifice, Serve How We Know What Love Is

“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me’” (Mark 8:34 NIV1).

Deny yourself. Those are strong words. Not at all what we want to hear. Not in our all-for-ourselves culture. When you hear these hard teachings, aren’t you thankful that Jesus never asked us to do anything that He was not willing to do Himself? Because of His willingness to deny Himself and lay down His life, we know what love, true love, looks like:

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and truth” (1 John 3:16).

Jesus invested His all for us. He healed the sick and the sinners. He loved the unlovable. He cared for those who would never care for Him. Ultimately, He literally laid down His life, taking our sin to the cross and dying in our place. And, He did all of this with quiet dignity and resolve, in submission to His Father’s will and out of love for mankind.

As we seek to follow Him, how are we denying self? Everywhere around us, people are in need. What are we willing to give to meet those needs? Are we willing to invest time? Money? Emotional involvement? It is so simple to say the right words. It is not so simple to love with actions and truth. However, it is in denying self to meet the needs of others that you fully display the love of Christ.

Jesus, perfect, sinless Jesus, willingly denied Himself and gave His all for a world that does not return His love. How can we do any less?

Pray: Dear Father, Thank You for sending Jesus to show us how to love others and meet them at their point of need. Please open my eyes to see the needs of those around me. Please open my heart and my spirit to feel the needs of those around me. Please give me love and courage and strength to deny myself to meet those needs.  Amen.

1All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

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