1 John 3:16 We know love by this, that (Jesus) laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another.
I was struck by this verse this morning, especially this idea that we should “lay down our lives” for one another. The Greek word here is ἔθηκεν (etheken) which means “to lay aside one’s right or possession”. It’s the idea that, while I may have the right to keep something for myself, I’m choosing to give it to another anyway. It’s a voluntary self-sacrifice. THAT, according to the writer, is love.
This is a difficult teaching, isn’t it? We’re generally taught to “look out for #1”. The bible teaches us that other people are to be our #1, for we are God’s #1. It’s in giving away our lives that we receive life.
I admit that, too often, I’m selfish. I’m reluctant to give my life away as is suggested in this verse, not because I fear it but because it’s an ingrained way of thinking. I’ll take care of others so long as I know that I’m already taken care of.
Key question: what would it look like for you and me to “lay down our lives” today?
Lord Jesus, I am convicted by this verse today. It’s not my nature to lay down my life for others, though you laid down your life for me. Give me grace to reflect your self-sacrificing character and, in so doing, love my neighbor. For I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.