“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in
my love. When you obey me, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father and remain in His love. I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! I command you to love each other in the same way that I love you. And here is how to measure it – the greatest love is shown when people lay down their lives for their friends. You are my friend if you obey me. I no longer call you servants, because a master doesn’t confide in his servants. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.”
– John 15:9-15

Selfishness is a joy stealer. Have you ever spent time with someone who is self-focused? Constant criticism of others, blame and bitterness seem to spew from their mouths?

In reading that Scripture verse, it is clear that the “laying down”
of life doesn’t only pertain to death. It pertains to life. The Greek meaning for “lay” is to put down, or bend down.

Ah, the posture of humility, the laying down or bending of one’s life for another. Setting aside self.

Christ demonstrated this all the way through His ministry here on earth, not just at the Cross. It was His selfless giving to others in life and love that made His death and Resurrection even more valuable.

Yes, through His death and Resurrection He saves us, and through His loving in life He taught how us to live!

A fellow counselor and I have recently been discussing the deterrent of victim mentality. Not that there aren’t true victims of crime, abuse, etc. However, when everyone else is to blame for our lot in life, then there is no personal responsibility to be obedient to the Word of God. Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord.

We are to walk in forgiveness and love toward those who have hurt or offended us.

That doesn’t mean we continue to put up with the sin of others; God doesn’t tolerate sin and neither should we. However, we are still called to walk in love, exercising grace to all, while taking a stand against the sin.

I challenge myself and all of you to ask God to reveal to you, where am I being selfish? Where am I not being obedient in love? Let’s pray for real love, not just in word, but also in heart attitude. Let’s walk out patience, kindness, forgiveness, keeping no record of wrongs. (1 Corinthians 13) (Hebrew 12:15)

Jesus said, “Yes, your joy will overflow!” when we are obedient to loving.