“[LOVE] DOES NOT SEEK ITS OWN” (1 COR. 13:5).
Love transforms selfish people into self-sacrificing people.
From the time of Adam and Eve, replacing God with self has been at the root of all sin. Our first parents had only one restriction: “From the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die” (Gen. 2:17). But Eve believed the serpent’s lie that God was trying to keep her from realizing her full potential (Gen. 3:5). She ate the forbidden fruit, gave some to Adam, and together they plunged the human race into sin and death.
Christ changed all that when He came, not “to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). Unlike Adam and Eve, He didn’t seek His own comfort or gain, but made whatever sacrifices were necessary to redeem lost sinners.
It is reported that the inscription on a tombstone in a small English cemetery reads,
Here lies a miser who lived for himself, And cared for nothing but gathering wealth. Now where he is or how he fares, Nobody knows and nobody cares.
How tragic to spend your entire life enslaved to your selfishness. In contrast, a tombstone in the courtyard of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London reads, “Sacred to the memory of General Charles George Gordon, who at all times and everywhere gave his strength to the weak, his substance to the poor, his sympathy to the suffering, his heart to God.” The first tombstone testifies to the futility of greed and selfishness; the second to the glory of generosity and self-sacrifice.
Christ is the perfect example of self-sacrifice. If you love Him, you should be characterized by the same quality. Then others will see your genuineness and commitment to them, and by God’s grace be drawn to your Lord.
What epitaph might your family and friends write about you? I pray it is one that glorifies God for the selfless love He demonstrated through you.
Suggestions for Prayer
- Thank God for those who have made significant sacrifices toward your spiritual growth. Seek to imitate their love.
For Further Study
- List the fifteen qualities of love from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, then determine how self-sacrifice relates to each one.
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, http://www.crossway.com.