In the midst of pastoral counseling, my husband often defines love as self-sacrifice. Genuine love wants the best for others and is willing to make sacrifices for them to experience that goodness. When we look at the life of Christ, we see this picture of love in every encounter—truly putting the needs of others ahead of His own.
We may naturally think that self-sacrificing love is too costly. However, just the opposite is true. Selfish living always leaves us frustrated and unfulfilled, because self-centered thoughts tend to focus what is lacking in our life. Or we can find ourselves wanting others to live up to our expectations, causing even more dissatisfaction.
We actually rob ourselves of joy by choosing to live selfishly. Jesus tells us our joy is directly related to our choice to remain in His love and love others—
“’As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you’” (John 15:9-12, NIV).
Earlier in the book of John, we read that Jesus came to give us a “rich and satisfying life,” (John 10:10, NLT). But we are also called to serve one another in love. The two are directly related.
I pray we will remain in His love and allow self-sacrificing love to pour through our lives. I believe a rich, satisfying, joyful life will be the result!