This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. – 1 John 3:16-18
When God wanted to change the world, what did He do? He let go.
The Father let go of Jesus. Jesus let go of any position or power and became the most vulnerable of creatures—a baby. The greatest example we can follow is the one that God displayed for us.
As He looked at the world that He created, He saw a society that was filled with pain, sin, and brokenness. In response, Jesus chose to spend himself on us. He let go of His very life so that we could be free, and John writes that “this is how we know what love is…” That’s a line we might want to pay attention to. If we want to love the way Jesus loves, we must let go of our self-focused attitudes.
The Lord is asking us to follow in His way. We can look to a Father who understands the difficulty of letting go, and respond to His call. We can look to Jesus who knows what it is to spend Himself and lean on Him for strength. Isn’t our goal to be like Him? He asks us to open our eyes to others who are in need and to “love them with actions and in truth.” It seems that to God, loving others and letting go are inseparable. We attempt to love others and still have all of the comforts and conveniences that our hearts desire. What if there is an aspect of true freedom and happiness that can only come by letting go of things that hold a position in our hearts that God wants to hold Himself?
It is unbelievable love that asks something so great of us, and then gives us more than we ever could have imagined in return. We will spend the rest of the week exploring what this means in our lives. We can be encouraged that as God is calling us to let go of some things, we are not alone…we are serving Someone who understands, Someone who has walked this road of letting go long before us.
Research: Who’s Helping?
Today, we want you to start researching how the needs you learned about yesterday are being met. Look at the list of needs you made yesterday and pick the one that you feel most passionate about helping to meet. Next, choose a place where that pain is particularly prevalent. Maybe you feel strongly about poverty in Asia, education funding in your state, or people who don’t have enough food in your own city. Whatever you choose, your next step is to research organizations that are helping people affected by that issue. Find as many organizations as you can. What do they do? How do they help people? Make another list, this time of the top three organizations you would be interested in working with.
Activity: Spending Your Time
Tonight our activity is a little more reflective. Sit down with your family and make a list of where you’re spending your time in an average week. How much of your time is spent on social media? How much hanging out with friends? How much reading, or playing sports, or just sitting around? Include even the mundane, necessary things, like sleeping or eating. On what are you spending yourself? Then ask the hard question: is it worth it?
Prayerfully examine your list and choose two or three things to restructure, whether that’s through putting a one- or two-episode limit on the Netflix show you’re currently bingeing, making space in your morning routine to read your Bible for half an hour, or adding family time to talk about your day after dinner. The changes don’t have to be huge, and they don’t have to happen overnight, but there is always something in our day that we could move around or shorten in order to do something more important.