If you love someone enough, you will lay down your life for them. That's a statement I've been deeply pondering lately. When I think of my bride, there is nothing I would not do to protect her from harm or death. I love her so much. She is the apple of my eye. Why she's the cat's! The same is true for my children, grandchildren, and well...many of my friends.
There is a point at which love overcomes any fear of dread, harm, destruction, or even death. It is not a point we reach when provoked by dread, harm, destruction, or death. Instead it is a place in which we walk. We abide there, and should dread, harm, destruction, or death threaten someone we love, we're prepared to pay the ultimate price. "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear..." (1 John 4:18) No type of fear is spared!
If you love someone just a little, you might not lay down your life for them. You may (if you have time) have to think about it. Why? Because you don't love them enough to give up your life for theirs. Let me say here that laying down one's life for someone is not always physically dying for another. However it is always self-denial, a form of death in behalf of someone else.
The question I must ask myself (and you should ask yourself) is..."do I love God enough to lay down my life for Him, or for His cause?" If confronted with imminent physical death due to my stand for Him, would I stand to the death? I sure hope so. I want to. It's easy for me to say that I will love Him even unto death. It's easy to sing about it. But would I do it? I will if I walk in His unfailing love!
When asked which of the commandments was the greatest Jesus replied, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength." (Mark 12:30) How do we love God? With our complete heart, soul, mind, and strength. We love God with EVERYTHING! We hold nothing back. We are to be "in love" with Him. He is to be our everything. We don't love Him only on Sundays, or during church meetings. We love Him always...with all we have....all that we are...our everything! No one and no thing is to be loved more than God, or His son Jesus. This is perfect (which really means complete and fulfilling) love. There is absolutely no fear in this love. Not even fear of our own death.
I'm not ashamed to tell anyone about the love I have for my wife and family. If I am, then I don't love them enough. Can we say the say thing about God? Do we love Him enough to tell others about Him? Telling folks about Jesus can provoke different responses. Some good. Some bad. But we must tell them. That's how the gospel is spread.
My friend, we must seek God to love Him more. His love for you and me is inexhaustible. He loves us with an everlasting love. Because He first loved us we can love Him. Only through His love can He be the center of our life. It's our love for Him, and thus for others that will change the world. It's His love that will create vacancies in hell.
"Origen says that Peter felt himself to be unworthy to be put to death in the same manner as his Master, and was therefore, at his own request, crucified with his head downward." (Up-side-down)