February 28, 2012
He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”; and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” ~ Luke 10: 27
This is the principle of the greatest commandment of God: LOVE. Yet many times, we fail to see Its deepest nature: SELF-SACRIFICING.
This entry is inspired from a very striking truth from the book of James Bryan Smith entitled “the good and beautiful GOD”. In the book, I learned the divine nature of GOD and one of it can be found in the aspect of Self-Sacrificing. Going back to the verses on top, God’s greatest commandment was all about LOVE. I think that’s the chief purpose of why we are created, to fulfill that meaningful duty. And Its deepest nature? I could have said Unconditional. Yet only God has the capacity to possess that nature. What comes next after that, I believe, is Self-Sacrificing.
“God, who is completely free, chose willingly to enter into our world as a vulnerable child and to endure insult, torture and execution as an adult. God did not have to do this. If Athanasius is right in saying that the only way to solve the human problem (corruption, alienation from God, loss of the image of God) was by God stepping in Himself, that still does not mean that God had to do it. There is nothing that compelled God to save us in this way. In choosing to save us in this manner, God risked unrequited love.” pp 138-139
We often wonder why God allowed His Son, Jesus Christ, to undergo the most brutal and shameful death just to forgive us of our sins. God being omnipotent, couldn’t He just snap His fingers and instantly grant forgiveness without the need to sacrifice His Son? These have been one of the common distorted views of most people, including Christians. Yet from the passage above, one can draw the true nature of God being Self-Sacrificial; not just that He sacrificed His Son which may entail coldness from His part, but rather God Himself, chose to save us by entering our world through a perfect human body, Jesus. It is that God and Jesus (and the Holy Spirit) are one in entity. God Himself, our Creator, our Redeemer. Most of all, the last bold sentence struck me. Where He created Love to be the most precious thing, He risked being unloved by coming to Earth to offer Himself in vulnerability to His creation, submitting Himself completely in His very creation that rejected Him – revealing His love in the most powerful manner possible – Self-sacrifice!
Is there a point sinking in you already? Self-sacrifice. I’ve read that this applies more to the spiritual leaders that God has called to step up. Selflessness. Serving instead of being served. There will be a lot of spiritual attacks, specifically aiming emotional baggage that will discourage many spiritual leaders and be weary. We just cannot settle for the human reasoning of ‘selected indifference’ to comfort us. We need to battle the spiritual attacks by the feeding of God’s Word. Only then will we see things according to His perspective and will. No matter how tiring or fed-up you may be, no matter how weak and hard sacrifice may seem, and no matter how discouraged you are from non-reciprocating care, we are now reminded that God Himself, the One whom we serve, chose to undergo the highest form of all sacrifice because He loved us. And we in our small moments of sacrifice, feel something of what God feels (freedom, release, exhilaration, purpose, meaning), if only for few moments.