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Weekly Wisdoms for the week of August 5, 2019

Sacrifice is the true measure of love.

The degree of one's love for someone is measured by the degree of his or her sacrifice for that person. When you deeply love someone, you'll do a lot of difficult, challenging, or painful things for him or her that you would never do for anyone else.

Jesus, even before his death, demonstrated his love for others by sacrificing for them. John 13:1 tells us: It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. In the next 15 verses, Jesus washes his disciples' feet -- a task usually performed by the lowliest servants. Yet Jesus, out of love, gave of himself in order to serve. Love means going out of your way to be a servant.

Sacrifice is exactly how we can measure God's love for us. As Romans 5:8 explains, God let his son, Jesus Christ, die so that every one of us could have the opportunity to be alive: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. God demonstrates his love for us by his sacrifice for us.

In 1 John 3:16-17, we are presented with this same challenge: 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. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. How can you love others if you're not sacrificing for them?

In your life, examine what you can do to serve others in order to show them true love -- God's love. Such love requires sacrifice.

Before you can love others, you must receive God's love for yourself, because you cannot give away something you don't have.

God deeply and intimately loves you! His love for you is unconditional—no strings attached, and there is nothing that you can do to get God not to love you. Indeed, Romans 8:38-39 says that there is nothing that can ever separate us from God's love.

Knowing that God loves you is central to your understanding of the Gospel, for the entire Gospel is based on God's love (See John 3:16, Romans 5:8, 1 John 3:16, 1 John 4:9-10). The good news is that God hasn't withheld His love from us; instead, God has poured out his love into our hearts (Romans 5:5).

But what do we do with that love? We know God loves us, but so what? What should we do with God's love? Give it away! Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (1 John 4:11). In other words, our response to the news of God's love for us needs to be to love others. Indeed, Jesus repeatedly commanded us to love others (See Matthew 5:43-47, Mark 12:28-31, Luke 6:27-35, John 13:34-35, John 15:12,17).

However, it is impossible to love others unless you know, believe and receive God's love. 1 John 4:19 says, We love because he first loved us. In other words, we are able to love other people, because God first showed His love to us. If God hadn't shown His love to us, we would have no standard and no example on which to base our love for others.

Similarly, 1 John 4:7 says, Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Here again, our ability to love one another is only because love comes from God.

Think of your ability to love others like a glass of water. At first, the glass is empty. If you don't have any water in your glass, then you obviously can't give water to anyone else. But when you hold your glass under a faucet and let the water pour out into your glass, it will fill up. Then, once it is full, your glass will overflow, and you can let the water pour out to everyone around you.

If you don't have love in you, then you can't give love to anyone else. Therefore, you must first receive God's love, before you can love one another.

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