Challenge 65: Love Sacrificially

MLK and quote

Love is an action word. You’ve probably heard that many times and know that people love you by what they do and not just by what they say. We know this to be true when we look at God the Father and what He did for humankind: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The action God showed was giving. He didn’t, however, give lightly but sacrificially. We are called to do the same.

I have been meditating on our call to sacrificial love after my husband’s sermon yesterday, “A Fasted Life.” He told us that as Christians we are not just called to abstain from food and other habits during a fast, which is common for churches (and individuals) this time of year, but all our lives should be that of sacrificing something for the greater good. Jesus left the perfection of heaven to come to sin-filled earth; he clothed his glory and took on human flesh, with all its trials and tribulations; and he didn’t demand the respect due him but instead walked in humility (Philippians 2:4-8). He gave up his rights so that others could have the right to eternal life; he died so that we might live (1 John 4:9).

As we are called to “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus,” let us sacrifice for love just as Jesus did. We have to believe in love so much that we are willing to die for love: die to our emotions, die to our comfort, die so that others might live. We should want others to have the security of physical and financial blessings; the comfort of emotional support; the direction from wisdom; a soul that is well; and above all a spirit that is saved. We must allow the Holy Spirit who has filled our hearts with love to use us to fill others’ hearts with his love (Romans 5:5).

So today, as we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the great American leader of love, let us examine our lives to see how we can actively sacrifice on behalf of others to embody our spiritual and cultural heritage. We, others, and our world will be better as a result of our love.

Take a Risk Challenge: This week pick at least one way to sacrifice on behalf of others by either 1) providing for their physical or financial security; 2) comforting them emotionally; 3) directing them with wisdom; 4) helping to anchor their soul (mind, will and emotions); 5) sharing salvation through the gospel of Jesus Christ or 6) doing something else that comes to mind. Whatever sacrifice you choose is a radical act of love.

Challenge 49: Love as God Commands

Photo courtesy of Sacrosanct Gospel

Photo courtesy of Sacrosanct Gospel

For so long I had my life figured out. I would go to school, study journalism, be a journalist and travel the world as a foreign correspondent. I’ve told you before that I didn’t care if I married or had children. I just wanted to fulfill my career dreams and if that’s all I had, I would be content. Well, none of that, except for going to school, turned out like I thought. I am a sometime journalist, have never traveled the world as a journalist, got married and have three children. My plan for me didn’t work, but God’s plan is what is working. You would think that after my career plans got nixed for God’s plans, I would just allow Him to tell me what will be and simply embrace His plans. But you know that’s not how most of us do. We know what we want, how we want it and when we want it, and this includes just about everything, including who and how we love. But even that, as God has been impressing upon me lately, must be done according to His plan.

“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12).

“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently…” (1 Peter 1:22).

“With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).

“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 22:39).

“But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you…” (Luke 6:27).

So God tells us to love those who we are connected to and those we are not, those who are in the Kingdom of God and those who are not, those who love us and those who don’t, those whose actions we like and those whose actions we don’t like. This, I believe, includes everyone we encounter. And then God tells us how we are to love them. We are to love

  • As Jesus loved us (John 15:12)
  • With a pure heart (1 Peter 1:22)
  • Fervently (1 Peter 1:22)
  • With forbearance (Ephesians 4:2)
  • As we love ourselves (Matthew 22:39)

We don’t have a choice because all these verses are commands, not suggestions, and they are our guide to love. So when we would rather not deal with someone who is not connected to us, who is not a Christian, whose actions we don’t like or who hates us, we have to love them. We don’t get to plan our escape from those we don’t care for, but we instead must decide how we will love by using the five ways listed above. Our lives belong to Jesus and, as such, Jesus decides what the plans are for our lives, even plans to love others.

Take a Risk Challenge: Choose this week to love someone with a pure heart, fervently, with forbearance and as you love yourself (which all encompass how Jesus loved us). Doing either of these is truly a radical act of love.

My One Thousand Gifts List

#1241-1250
A warning about coming spiritual warfare
A revelation about the depth of the spiritual warfare
A friend who makes chocolate trip cookies and shares
Time at Woodside Bible Church-Detroit
The Watermans
Kendall’s amazingly hilarious story
Time in the sun with Renee
Talking with Carla
Shoes from Sharon for Justus
Justus saying he wants “to go to Mexico, California, Trader Joe’s and Target”

Challenge 12: Love for 2013


Love is not just a weekly challenge but a life challenge, calling us to change the fabric of our lives. Because this is so, I give these weekly challenges so you can experience for a week a certain aspect of love and learn the possibility of that love week being your love life. And you know I don’t just mean eros, that romance love, but I’m talking about agape, that unconditional love we should have for everyone. So this day, the last day of 2012, I want you to reflect on the challenges I have presented here on Take a Risk: Radical Love for the Soul to see how they can (or have) become a part of your love life. This takes your willingness and Jesus working through you to achieve. And we know this is possible: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13-NKJV). And we know this strength is already in us through the Spirit of God, who Jesus gave us to reside in us (Philippians 2:13). Our job is not to quench the Holy Spirit but allow His fire to light our path and ignite our souls to love in a radical way (1 Thessalonians 5:19; Acts 2:3-4). We can make 2013 the year to truly embrace radical love for life by focusing on having more of Jesus so we have more of His love to give:

Be Thankful
Encourage the Ultra Miserable
Have a Plan
Counter the Attack
Make Another Attempt
Thank Your Offender
Love Consistently
Rejoice for Others
Love Those You Disdain
Love Through Pain
Rejoice and Be Glad

My One Thousand Gifts List

#881-890
Having dinner ready before 4
A cancelled appointment
A more complete blog post than I ever imagined
More parenting column ideas
Feeling deep love for those who offended me
Talking to and through with a friend about our offenses and helping one another
Completing changes to my manuscript proposal
Hearing about Helena’s daughter getting an internship with Child Evangelism Fellowship
Hearing that Klark didn’t have to have surgery because God moved on His behalf
Getting to bed at 8:40 p.m.