True love demands sacrifice.
This is not judgment, condemnation or legalism, it’s simply a recognition of what we’ve come to know about love.
Love is the most powerfully motivating force in the universe. It stays longer than a choice made in fear. It gives more than a choice made out of self-interest. It asks for less than a choice made in fairness or equity.
And thankfully, the Bible gives us the clearest picture of love’s greatest demonstration — the sacrifice of one own life for another.
True love demands sacrifice.
With those who are in love, you will notice a rearranging of priorities, a giving up of outside interests, a change in spending habits, new language and topics of speech — and the one constant through all of these changes? They will all be done willingly and cheerfully.
There is no more influential and motivating force for lasting change than true sacrificial love.
When true love compels me, nothing will stand in my way.
What do we say then of those who demonstrate no change, who refuse to sacrifice existing habits and priorities, who cannot commit to absolute faithfulness, while their significant other extends both hands openly, holding nothing back?
- Think of the husband who places work as a priority over his family. Dedicated at all costs to the job, but impatient and checked out while at home.
- Think of the girlfriend who keeps the boyfriend strung along, never committing but knowing she is the center of his universe and loving the feeling she gets from that.
- Think of the marriage where the two never become one. Sure they live together and perhaps even raise kids, but neither has surrendered their will and independence to the other. They still make decisions as if they were single, and this has become their norm.
The answer to this question is obviously clear when we ask it in human relationships. We have all sorts of names, opinions, words of caution and book recommendations in these situations where the lack of reciprocal love is “obvious”, yet the answer becomes murky when we compare it to our relationship with God.
Any perceived strings attached to our love from God is instantly rejected as legalism and Old Testament thinking.
Why the shift in sentiment? Why so clear in human relationships and so uncertain between man and God?
What would those in our examples above say when confronted with their lack of true love?
- I do love my family, see how I provide for them. See how hard I work. Why do they expect more than that? I work harder than almost any other man I know.
- I like him, but I’m just afraid of commitment. I mean how can I be sure he is the one when there are so many other options? So many other things bring me happiness and comfort, why do I have to choose only one?
- Don’t judge me. The way we do marriage is just different from your interpretation. We all get to interpret things for ourselves and this is the version that works for us. We have accepted this standard and now you need to as well.
Are we really much different when it comes to God? Do we not have perfectly logical and justifiable reasons for our lack of sacrifice and commitment? Don’t we have examples we can point to, both in our experiences and the experiences of others, which validate our lifestyle?
And yet deep down there is something missing: an inability to gladly and willingly surrender everything for our Beloved. Why?
Is it because we have not yet found true love?
There is a true love, as described above, the kind which elicits sacrifice, and if you asked them how they could possibly give so much, their answer would be, “Sacrifice? I’ve only willingly and gladly given what I have. It is no great price to pay for the love of this One. He deserves so much more.”
Oh let it be so for all of us. Let us not be found “unknown” as a lover of God in the last day.