I’m going to risk sounding like a bad Christian and start off this week’s devotional by saying this:
Selfless love sucks.
It takes your resources, your time, your energy. It can range from being mildly inconvenient to downright painful. It means we have to be aware of how our words and actions affect others instead of blurting out everything we feel in a moment. It means we should care for others when we’d rather focus on taking care of our own burdens.
It also means we need to be more like Christ - which sounds pretty ideal until we realize how much hardship and rejection He went through. Do we really want to go there? Nowadays, society won’t judge us for focusing our time and energy on ourselves or for simply chasing what makes us feel good. So why bother?
It is now December, and the answer is basically staring us in the face. The lights I keep driving past may just seem like fun and festive decor to most, but to those who believe in Christ, they should also be a reminder. A reminder that the Light of the World didn’t just sit up in Heaven enjoying Himself.
God’s creation had (and still has) turned against Him. If I were Him, I’d be inclined to say “Well, that was stupid. Screw humanity. I’ll just chill up here while they suffer for rebelling against my design.” But, God isn’t made in my image (thanks be to Him for that!). So, instead, Christ exercised selfless love. He confined Himself to a human body. He chose to help society’s hopeless and looked down upon sinners rather than taking on a glorious political position or snubbing everyone like the “good” people did. He was despised, rejected, and even betrayed by those who said they loved Him.
What does He do in return? He takes on the punishment of damnation so that our debt is paid and we can be adopted into His family and have the ability to love Him.
Selfless love sucks.
But, it was given to us by Christ. So let’s pay it forward. And backward. And everywhere in between. Let’s selflessly love Christ by following Him and His Word no matter what. Let’s selflessly love others because that is what Christ did and wants us to do, too. It won’t always be a warm fuzzy feeling, it may mean we’ll get dirty or uncomfortable or worse.
It won’t be like a Hallmark Christmas flick, but it is the best way we can celebrate Christmas both in December and throughout the year.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.” - John 15:9-17