Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation[i] for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (1 John 4:7-11).
God is the definer of love. His love means that He always acts in the best interest of His creation. It was His love for His creation of mankind, us, that He sent His Son to pay the penalty for our sin. Jesus sacrificed in a supreme act of love by giving His life for us! When we act in the best interest of someone else, even when we must sacrifice our own wishes, we are expressing the type of love that God has for us.
Several years ago, I made a copy of the following story about a little boy’s love for his sister, but I cannot find the name of the author now. It is such a perfect example of sacrificial love that I decided to repeat it here as author unknown.
A Christian doctor told a story of true love. He was treating a little girl who had been in a serious accident. This little one had a rare blood type and would die without a transfusion. It looked as if they would be unable to find a blood match in time to save her when they discovered that her ten-year-old brother had the same blood type.
The doctor explained to the boy that if he took the boys blood and gave it to his sister, she would live. Without hesitation the boy agreed. The doctor and his parents carefully explained each step of the process so he would fully understand and not fear. The boy was calm and resolute as he laid side by side with his sister connected by the tubes that transferred life into her veins.
Afterward, the doctor told the boy what a good job he had done. The little boy looked up at him and said, “Doctor, when will I die.”
It was then that the doctor realized that the boy had believed that giving his blood to his sister meant he would die in her place. This ten-year-old child believed he was giving his life for his sister, and he chose to do it willingly.
That is true love! It is the kind of love that Jesus had for us when He gave His life that we might live. It is the love that a woman can depend on every day of her life. She can trust that God will always treat her with His love.
When God gave you a part to play in His overall plan for mankind, He did so in love. He will not allow anything to happen in your life apart from His love. In turn, when you live your life by His biblical precepts towards others, you are acting in love. You can freely sacrifice your own desires because you have first been loved by God!
We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
Dear Heavenly Father,
I thank you for Your abundant love towards me. I know that I do not always act in love toward others. Remind me of Your love today and help me to act in the best interest of my family and friends, even when it is difficult to do. Help me to be an example of Your love for them.
In Jesus name, I pray. Amen
[i] My husband’s research on this word in the Greek has determined a more-specific meaning for this word. It means “the expiatory sacrifice that totally removes sin.” Propitiation is not merely atonement that covered sin temporarily, as the animal’s sacrifice in the old Covenant could only do. It completely takes it away.