“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
To be a Christian means we must exemplify living a sacrificial life as Jesus demonstrated. In the above scripture, He stresses the importance of sacrifice and self-denial for others. In verse 12, he commands the disciples to “love each other in the same way I have loved you.” It is interesting to note this commandment was given after He taught about the vine and the branches. In verses 1-2, he explains that every branch that does not bear fruit is cut off, while branches that bear fruit are pruned so more can be produced.
What is the fruit that Jesus mentioned? It is listed in Galatians 5:22-24: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. How can we lay down our lives for one another if we cannot bear the fruit to do so? Selfish behaviors, negative mindsets, unhealthy situations and/or relationships can prevent us from bearing the fruit God desires and need to be removed from our lives. We may not risk our physical lives like Jesus did, but laying down our lives can be a sacrifice. This includes stepping out of our comfort zone to become a friend to someone we feel can be a difficult person, sacrificing money we planned to spend on ourselves to provide for someone who is in need, staying up late at night to comfort a friend through a trial, or going the extra mile to encourage someone when we may need encouragement ourselves.
Take some time and ask the Father to identify the branches in your life that need to be removed, and what needs to be pruned so you can fulfill the commandment of Christ to love others.
Father, I admit there are areas in my life that I have not loved You or others well. I have not fulfilled the commandment to love others as You love me. I ask that You reveal those areas in my life that need to be removed and pruned, and give me the strength and courage endure the process for Your sake so You will be glorified. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.