Love is characterized by self-sacrifice, but not all self-sacrifice is an act of love (by JM).
This first section is a devotional written by John MacArthur. The following section is a message I heard recently that correlates with the same thinking. I provide the link to that one if you'd prefer to watch it...or read and watch it. Those are just my notes from when I viewed/heard it.
“If I give all my possessions to feed the poor . . . but do not have love, it profits me nothing” (1 Cor. 13:3).
Love is characterized by self-sacrifice, but not all self-sacrifice is an act of love.
If you’ve ever donated to your church or another charitable organization out of obligation, peer pressure, legalism, guilt, a desire for recognition, or simply a tax deduction, you know what it means to give without love. In our society it’s easy to fall prey to that kind of giving because the needs are so great and fund raisers appeal to every conceivable motive. In addition, many cults and false religions encourage the giving up of possessions and other sacrificial gestures as a supposed means of earning God’s favor. But God is more interested in why you give than what you give.
Paul’s hypothetical illustration in 1 Corinthians 13:3 is of someone who sacrificed everything he had to feed the poor. The Greek word translated “to feed” means “to dole out in small quantities.” Apparently this guy didn’t simply write out a check for a food distribution program; he was personally involved in a long-term, systematic program that would eventually consume every resource he had.
Paul doesn’t mention motives—only that this person lacked love. Consequently, the benefits of his benevolence were limited to the physical realm. Any spiritual benefits were forfeited.
Jesus, making a similar point, said, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 6:1). If your motive for giving is to gain the approval of men, their accolades will be your only reward. If you’re motivated by love for God, He will reward you abundantly (vv. 2-4).
When you give to the Lord, what is your motive? Do you want others to think more highly of you? Do you feel obligated? Those are subtle influences, so be sure to guard your motives carefully. Remember, the only acceptable motive is love.
Suggestions for Prayer
Ask the Holy Spirit to keep you sensitive to the needs of others, enabling you always to give out of genuine love.
LOVE IS SACRIFICIAL
Love in action looks different (Matt. 5:38-48). Notice the "But I say," statements in this passage.
- Submit your desire for personal revenge.
Don't give in to your natural instinct.
Sacrificial love is not passivity, but rather surrender of the right to personal revenge, or else you will develop a bitter spirit and eventually find yourself alone on an island.
Why the desire for revenge sometimes? Because of pride or ego when insulted.
Do you trust God will take care of it?
Romans 12:19 (NIV) Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
Love those who don't love you back (vv 43 and ff.).
Christ’s example, “Father, forgive them”...the one's crucifying me (Luke 23:34).
SACRIFICIAL Love – means to put the interest of others ahead of your own.
How do I love those who don't love me back?
44...pray for them, you'll see them differently and look more like Jesus.
48...maturity, whole, complete = perfection
Do this with an All-in love mindset and action.
Don’t forget to give Jesus room to act in the situation…His ways are perfect, and nothing gets past Him.
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Nate Smith is a college baseball and football coach, a husband, a father of 6 girls, grandpa to 3 granddaughters, a police chaplain, a pastor, and has a passion to see men grow in Christ.
#girldad including granddaughter