I’m excited and blessed to have sweet sister in Christ, author Amanda Beth, on my blog this week. She’s a wife, homeschooling mom, writer, and an encouraging friend. I appreciate Amanda’s passion for sharing God’s Word and the love of Christ through her books and website, SharingTruths.com. Her latest book,The Love Walk, is a 15-week devotional based on 1 Corinthians 13. Today she’s sharing an excerpt from chapter seven: Love is Not Self-Seeking.
Chapter Seven: Love Is Not Self-Seeking
Selflessness does not mean “wanting to please others.” The Bible tells us to deny ourselves and lay down our lives for others, but if we learn from Jesus’ example, He didn’t live to please others. He lived to please God by doing His will, which was for the benefit of others.
In order to lay down our lives for the benefit of others we have to first lay down our will and submit it over to Jesus.
“And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” —2 Corinthians 5:15
After trying everything I possibly could in life, I hit a point when I gave up and said to God, “Here I am, Lord. If You can do anything with my life and have anything planned for me, I’m all Yours.” I stopped trying to plan my life and stopped seeking my own will. That’s when I opened the door for God to come in and live His will through me.
As we give ourselves to God, He works His love in us and enables us to love others. 1 John 4:7-8 says, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
Being married and having four young children who constantly need my attention, I sometimes feel like all I do is give of myself. At the end of the day there’s nothing left in me to give. I’ve learned that I need to spend time daily with God and allow Him to continually fill me with His love in order to continue giving myself to others.
We can’t give what we don’t have. We can’t give ourselves to others when we’re spiritually empty. Jesus often went without food to continue preaching and meeting the needs of others, but He never neglected His relationship with God.
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” —Luke 5:16
We will be left spiritually and physically drained if we continue doing things for others without spending time with God, in His Word and in prayer, allowing Him to strengthen us and fill us with His love.
As we commit ourselves to God we can focus on loving others. God wants to fulfill our needs and desires while using us to bless others. I’m amazed how God meets my needs when He prompts me to commit whatever I’m facing over to Him and moves me to meet someone else’s need.
My husband and I were hit once with car trouble four consecutive times in a row. At the time, we’d drop one car off to be fixed and then something would happen to the other and then we’d have to switch them again. By the fourth time my car needed to be fixed, my husband suggested we wait since it was drivable, and we already spent all we had on the other repairs.
As the problem in my car continued, I began to fall into self-pity. Then one day, God humbled me by informing me of a couple who had gone through an extremely rough year, financially, emotionally, and physically. My problems didn’t compare to what they had been through.
I was moved by this couples’ situation and eagerly wanted to reach out and help them. I asked my husband if we could help even though we couldn’t afford it. My husband agreed, so I knew God was moving us to help them and He’d take care of us.
After blessing the couple, I got into my car, turned on the ignition and noticed the problem was gone instantly. I was amazed how God took care of our problem while using us to take care of someone else.
God wants to meet our needs and bless us, but when our minds are on ourselves we miss out on what God has for us and miss out on helping others.
There are many different ways God can use us to help others. When we follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit He will show us what people need. Like Jesus, sometimes what God prompts us to do won’t necessarily make us feel good or please others, but it will be what is needed.
I had to do something for someone once that was very difficult. I even prayed for God not to have me do it because I knew this person wouldn’t respond well. Nevertheless, I laid down my will and obeyed God. Even though this person wasn’t happy with me, I eventually saw the changes God brought about in their life. That showed me it was for their benefit.
People will not always approve of us when we live selflessly. But when we lay down our needs for the needs of others, and seek God’s will, lives will be changed, including ours!
“No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends.” —John 15:13 (AMP)
Amanda is a wife of sixteen years, mother of four children, and author of “You Can Have a Happy Family” and “The LOVE Walk”. God has done an amazing work in her and her family since He rescued her twelve years ago. Because of His unfailing love, she is passionate about sharing His love with others. Every Monday she shares the wonderful benefits behind the truths in God’s Word on her blog (SharingTruths.com). Every Wednesday she shares the Word of God over prayer requests on her Facebook page (http://tinyurl.com/AmandaBeth). And every Sunday she is a guest contributor for Christian Blessings (PTL2010.com). She also shares messages on marriage and parenting on her website (AmandaBeth.net).