One of the most persistent searches among humankind is for love, and yet few of us are willing to give that which we so desire.
In The Brothers Karamazov, a monk named Zosima attends to a wealthy widow. The woman tells him that she has considered becoming a nun, taking a vow of poverty and serving the poor. One matter has stopped her, however.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
As we read Hebrews 11, we find a single common denominator to the lives of the people mentioned. Each had a particular characteristic that denotes the kind of faith God loves. What was this element? Their faith was born of deep intimacy with the Lord.
The fact is that it’s impossible to have a faith that pleases God without sharing intimacy with him. What do I mean by intimacy? I’m speaking of a closeness to the Lord that comes from yearning for him. This kind of intimacy is a close personal bond, a communion. It comes when we desire the Lord more than anything else in this life.
You can’t weep your way into this heavenly place. You can’t study or work or will your way in. No, the only way to the throne-life is by way of a living sacrifice: “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).
We cannot serve Jesus properly unless we know the depths of his love for us. As John writes, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19, ESV). We absolutely must receive the Lord’s love into our hearts — and it’s vital that we love him back.
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
God calls us to live for him and other people, but the sacrifices necessary often seem overwhelming. How do we sacrifice our darlings, and what happens if we don’t give them up?
Chuck Feeney, cofounder of Duty Free Shoppers and multibillionaire, is now broke. For most, this would mean too many private islands purchased, but for Feeney, it’s the achievement of a lifelong dream.
He’s given away about $8 billion, without fanfare, often anonymously.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.