Do unto others as Christ has done for us

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I've been coming back to 1 John 3:16 over and over this week.

"This is how we know what love is: Christ gave his life for us. We too, then, ought to give our lives for our brothers!"

What a radical verse. It's been speaking to my heart because it lets me know what true love is and tells me that I already have it. And then it challenges me to do something with this incredible, amazing, breathtaking true love that I am covered in.

Give my life for my brothers and sisters.

That's not always the easiest thing to do. Sometimes I make a lot of excuses that are pretty convincing to me as to why I don't really need to serve the people around me. I get caught up in my busy schedule, I get comfortable and fall into using Christianity as a club, I let my insecurities hold me back from living in this love that has set me free.

One of the things I love most about Jesus is that he didn't make excuses.

The Scriptures are poured out images of Jesus giving his life for the people of his time and for us today. He came and turned the selfish way our human nature views life upside down. He forgave us. He healed us. He showed us where we were wrong, and spoke the truth to us. He served us. He prayed for us. Then he was betrayed and denied by his friends, humiliated and beaten, and then he died to show us what love is, what love can do, what love can endure.

This is the kind of love we're called to offer our lives to each other in. To truly serve everyone we're surrounded by every day out of this love is challenging and beautiful and exciting and scary all rolled into one. Sometimes it can seem kind of impossible.

With our own love, it is. Our own love is flawed and selfish.

But Christ's love is true. He gave his life for us. If he gave his life for us, and loves us in a perfect way that always puts us before himself, we can give our own lives to him. We can trust him to transform us and empty us of our own love so we can be filled with his love that is capable of giving our lives for others. God came as a man and placed more value in our lives than his own and saw each of our lives as worthy of pouring his life into. Through Christ's love, and with him leading us, we can truly love each other like this, too.

The specific ways we give our lives for each other might look different since each of us is a unique part of Christ's body. It might look like cooking for someone, or being truly present to our family and friends, or reaching out to someone or even physically dying for our faith as Christ did. Every way, though, that we, through Christ's love, use who we are to give our lives for each other is beautiful because it looks like Jesus.

Mia Pohlman is a Perryville, Mo., native studying at Truman State University. She loves performing, God and the color purple not necessarily in that order.

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