16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.1 John 3:16–18
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.John 15:13
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In the documentary’s most nail-biting and heart-stopping scene, Dave is exposed to the murderous fire of ISIS snipers as he seeks to rescue a little girl named Suria who is out in the open, sitting beside the mother she has just lost. Dave’s courageous act of love can inspire the way we love and serve others in several ways. Like him:
Let’s be willing to pay a price in the way we love others. True love always costs us something. It could be anything from giving up our time, resources, or comforts, to giving up our lives themselves—in the service of another. In one scene, Dave asks, “Are you willing to die trying to save someone who looks impossible to save?”
Let’s seek God’s guidance before stepping out. If ever our lives are literally put at risk in the service of another, seek God for his wisdom and guidance first. So perilous is Dave’s situation, that he seeks God’s guidance before all else—after all, his own death will mean that his children would lose their father, and his wife will lose her husband. When he asks God what he should do, God reminds him of Jesus’ words: “Greater love has no man than he who would lay down his life for a friend.” (John 15:13)
Let’s love not just with words and sentiment, but also with specific deeds. In the final analysis, words are cheap. There comes a moment when Dave’s intention to love transforms into practical action. “Is this the right time Lord?” he asks. “Yes!” comes the reply—and he is off and away in the direction of the helpless girl. “Let us not love with words or speech but with actions.” (1 John 3:18)
Let’s become riverbeds of Christ’s sacrificial love to others. In ourselves, we are incapable of valuing a person we might not even know above our own wellbeing. Yet through the encouragement of a chaplain in Thailand, Dave experienced an “infusion … of God’s Spirit,” that caused the situation to become crystal clear to him: “They need help. And I need to be willing to lay down my life to help them.”
Laying down our life for another is love at its highest. “By this we know love, that Jesus laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for others.” (1 John 3:16) This is why God’s love for us is most evident in the death of his Son, who gave up his life on the cross to rescue us. Thank God for his love in action, for we could not spiritually save ourselves any more than Suria could physically save herself.
- In what ways, in the last week or month, have you genuinely loved another?
- In what ways, in the next day or week, can you love not merely with words but with practical action?
- Ask God for an “infusion of God’s Spirit” so that you can be more of a riverbed of Christ’s sacrificial love to others.