“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Eph. 5:1,2 (NIV)
As we look closer at this command of Paul, we see that not only are we supposed to walk, illustrating that our Christian growth is a process, but we see that we are to walk in a certain way.
We are to walk in the way of love.
Paul goes on to give us the example of the way of love…the self-sacrifice of Jesus.
The way of love we are called to walk in is the way of self-sacrifice.
But what does it mean to live a life of self-sacrifice?
In the book Your Life in Christ, the 19th century Scottish writer George MacDonald, who inspired C.S. Lewis, gives us one of the most practical answers to that question.
MacDonald proposes that in order to live a self-sacrificial life, we must first separate our desires from our will.
Normally, our desires and our will go hand-in-hand. We desire something, and we immediately will it to happen.
MacDonald points out that our flesh…our old nature, rules our desires. Our will is ruled by our old nature as long as it is connected to our desires.
But if we separate the will from our desires, our will can come under the control of another.
We separate our desires from our will when we take the time to evaluate our desires, discern our desires, even question our desires. We will only question our desires when we realize that not all our desires are good for us…that our desires come from our old nature.
Age and maturity bring the ability to resist and put aside self-defeating desires… but that’s only the start.
The way of love that Jesus showed us consists of subverting all our desires to One who is greater…to One who knows what is best for us.
We need to learn to place all our desires under the will of the Father and take the time to ask whether that desire conforms to His will.
That’s living the way of love…the self-sacrificial life.
Prayer: Lord help me to question my desires and seek Your will over my own.