Putting others before myself is much easier said than done. I am much happier to help someone when it fits in perfectly with my schedule. I am much more motivated by self than by service. However, Jesus says that I’m supposed to deny myself, take up my cross, and follow him (Luke 9:23).
So what does it really mean to love in a way that is not self-seeking?
I think one of the most clear examples of how love is not self-seeking is when Jesus is praying in the garden of Gethsemane before he is crucified. In the garden, he prays and asks God if there is any other way to save the world. When God says no, he willfully submits to his Father’s plan.
At no point does Jesus deny the fact that this plan is inconvenient, painful, and hard. But when God tells him to do something, he denies himself, picks up his cross (literally), and follows God.
To love in a way that is not self-seeking means that your end goal is not to serve yourself.
When Jesus died on the cross, he was serving the world, not himself. And yet, God still exalted him. Loving well doesn’t mean that you have to suffer. It means that you try to give more than you get, trusting that God sees the work done in secret and will honor your obedience.
In order to love selflessly, you have to trust that God is constantly loving you selflessly. God’s love will always outweigh the love you show to others, meaning you will never run out of love to give.
Cleaning up after your roommate, driving a friend to class, joining LEAD at Wesley, or staying up late to listen to a friend who needs you isn’t always convenient or easy. Sometimes when we love well, we lose time and sleep. But serving others in love is never done in vain.
God sees every moment you deny yourself and choose to serve others. He will honor your obedience and will always fill you back up with his love. This week, spend some time asking God to reveal ways that you have been putting your needs above the needs of others. Ask him to highlight specific people that you need to serve. Maybe take time to write your people encouraging notes or send them a text to let them know how much you love them. And then, take your needs to God and ask him to satisfy them.
Father, thank you that your love for me is sufficient, that in you, I have all that I need. Give me your heart for service and help me to take the steps needed to live it out. Show me what areas of my life need to be surrendered to you and who I need to love better.
Author | Emily Baker