People will try to convince us that love is not supposed to be painful.
“Love does not hurt,” they will say.
How many of us associate love…
with happiness and joy?
And it can be these things, but the Bible says it is more.
“Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” – Ephesians 5:1-2
Here is a call for those whose sins have been forgiven by God. It is a call to imitate and to follow.
First, we are to imitate God (to act like Him).
Second, we are to love by following the example of Christ.
Without a doubt, as believers, we would all agree that God is a god of love.
He loved Jesus as his only son.
And Jesus loves God.
Jesus imitates God by only doing what He sees the Father doing (John 5:19), which is love.
God’s love for us called Him to sacrifice His only son so that we might have fellowship with Him.
Did you catch that?
Love caused God to sacrifice.
Love caused God pain.
Therefore, love does not equate to comfort.
God, in his love towards us, sacrificed his only son for our sake.
Jesus, in his love toward the Father, offers himself as THE sacrifice.
Did you catch that?
Jesus was sacrificed.
He was crucified.
Jesus’ love for the Father caused him pain.
I dare anyone to tell me crucifixion is not painful.
But it was not just physical pain Jesus endured for the sake of His Father, it was spiritual and emotional pain as well for…
He bore the burden of every sin in the world – past, present, and future.
He bore the burden of having God turn his back on him because of that sin.
Sacrifice is associated with…
1 Corinthians 13 confirms it:
…It is patient (long-suffering);
…It is not self-seeking. Love sacrifices its desires, its wants, its needs for the desires of the one it loves.
…It keeps no records of being wronged. It forgives. To forgive is to sacrifice what is owed whether it be an injustice, a wrong, or a debt.
…It endures all things. It continues on in the face of trials or opposition. It stands its ground in the face of burdens.
While the world tells us love equates to comfort, happiness, and ease. God tells us, it equates to suffering and pain.
If we are His children…
If we are Co-heirs with Christ…
If we are to imitate God’s love…
If we are to follow Christ’s example…
Our love for others must be sacrificial.
It must hurt.
It must be painful.
Who are you called to love sacrificially?
Who are you called to endure?
Who are you called to forgive?
What are you called to sacrifice for the love of God or the love of another?
Remember, the way we love is the way we show God’s love to the world.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:35)
Is yours sacrificial?
Is yours enduring?
Is yours laying down your desires for the sake of another?
Is yours forgiving others their debts and mistakes?
These are hard questions!
Yet we should always remember, the way we love is the way we show God’s love to others and what separates us from the way this world loves.
What does your love look like?