Love is: Laying Down Your Life

Prepping talks for the Cru Red River Region Staff conference this coming weekend. Looking forward to seeing my staff friends who serve on college campuses all over Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas. One of my favorite Bible study tools for the New Testament is the Discovery Bible:

9780802441591This wonderful resource is great for folks like me who haven’t *yet* had the opportunity to study Greek. Different symbols, words and numbers help add depth and understanding to verb tenses, translation and emphatic words used in the original New Testament text.

For example:

John 15:13 reads:

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”

Initially I read the verse to mean the greatest act of love is to physically die in someone’s place (like Jesus taking our place on the cross for our sin). I picture jumping in front of a would be assassin and taking a bullet for someone I love. Laying down my life. (And yes. I have been watching “Alias” on Netflix. In the middle of season 3. Go Sydney Bristow!)

But it turns out the word life in Greek is psyche (from which our English word psychology is derived). This explanation of life is the inner life of a person, the personality, or ego.  It’s what gives a person individual distinction before God. So rather than bios (the duration of earthly life or existence), Jesus is teaching that laying down our lives (feelings, desires, affections and aversions) is something we do over and over.

The verse right before this one about laying down our lives reads:

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.”

Love in this verse is agapao–unconditional love which seeks a person’s highest good, an unselfish affection for another without the expectation of receiving anything in return.

We are to love one another by laying down our lives for one another. Again and again.

This is greater love. Dying in someone’s place is a one time event. But choices to daily lay down my ego, laying down my agenda, lay down my rights and seek another’s highest good is the selfless way Jesus demonstrated love.

My challenge today:

How will I lay down my life for those I love?

Do you have any other thoughts to add to these verses?

 

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