“” Chapter 8 entitled “God’s Ultimate Gift: Sacrificial Love” from my book, Choosing the Abundant Life by Gary L . Hardesty My Ow Melody, LLC
God’s Ultimate Gift: Sacrificial Love.
The most wonderful gift of life is to love and to be loved. God created us to love and to be loved because it is in loving that we find the true meaning of completion. When you can get past that point of selfish expectation, then you will experience what true mercy and compassion is all about. Love is the solution to all things good, righteous, and holy. There is never anything harmful found in love; it always seeks to forgive, bind up, and restore.
Love is eager to meet the needs of others, to unselfishly give of all it possesses and then work to provide more, to provide what is needed. It is passion in its purest form, compassion without an end and desires to always be found sufficient and needed. To understand God, you must first be able to love and to love without condition. Understand, there is no way that you will ever be able to meet the high standard set by a super-natural, all-powerful God. Giving Him your heart and allowing Him to work in your life will bring you to a point where you will willingly allow Him to work in and through you. Knowing that you are loved by the one who is worthy of all love and that you can do nothing to deserve that love produces the highest level of respect and reverence. When you have reached a point where love controls everything that you do, then life is not what is most important and you become willing to sacrifice that life to see that those you love are provided for. This, in and of itself, might seem foolish and destructive, but there is no greater feeling than that of loving; there is no greater good than to sacrifice for another. True love has no end, and if we allow ourselves to become a part of that love, we are guaranteed eternal life. If you wonder how anyone
could ever love so much, then you have never truly loved. A life that has been taken to a point of loving unconditionally will never be the same as it was before it reached that point. There’s no going back; there’s no forgetting that it happened. The pinnacle of joy in living is living in the realm of unconditional love. To be at your best, you need to love; to know the true meaning of life, you need to love; and to experience true joy and fulfillment, you need to love. True love is undeniably the expression of sacrificial lavishness, the final crown to all that is to be desired and possessed.
It is said that everyone wants the same things, to reach the same end. If this is true, then why do we have so much confusion and disorder, so much hate and divisiveness? Since we are all going in opposite directions, then it must be okay to assume that we must not understand or that we don’t really care. This world has set us into patterns or actions that are tearing us apart and not binding us together. To have a true and meaningful relationship, we must all be united. What has happened to this one nation under God, with one purpose, to unite in Him so that all men could be free? Without a common goal or purpose, we cannot build a strong group, brotherhood, or nation. Without a willingness to belong, to share, we will never know the true fulfillment that can only be achieved by loving. The true imperfection of this world is making itself known, and without a catalyst or universal power, we will never be united or free. We have placed ourselves in a void, an empty and barren hopelessness that can only be filled or banished by the love of a gracious and loving Savior. God is the only hope of mankind, and without Him, we can never be free; we will never be united. To say that I love and then not care about my brother is somewhat dishonest and pretentious. To worry about our own needs and not care about the grievous hunger of another has become the absolute height of hypocrisy. Society has been corrupted by its desire to succeed, and in achieving its definition of success, it has forgotten the primary need or purpose of living. Contentment is never gained through gluttony because absolute greed can never be appeased. Avarice never takes the time to examine the needs of others, and if it did, it would not sorrow for their lack of substance but covet the little they do possess. I have so much to say, but I wonder who is listening. All our time is being spent in a mad rush to see that we will not be one of those unfortunate souls that are being left behind. When true brotherhood is caring for the needs of your neighbor, how do
you lose when the compassion you show others is given back by the compassion others have shown you, by the compassion you receive from a loving Savior? Universal love is the nourishment that causes a society to flourish and be strengthened. Universal or perfect love removes all doubt, fear, and suspicion. By knowing that I am loved, I am given the hunger or passion to return that love to others who are in need of my compassion. When a society is driven by a need to love, then, knowing the true definition of love, how can there be any chance of defeat or dissension, of despair or despondency? A society that is ruled by altruistic love has no need of regressive dictatorship’s or marshal law. The evil in this world has caused all of us to fear, to doubt any true expression of eternal love or order. It only wishes to divide us by its cruelty in order that it might conquer us and then destroy us. It only desires to minimize the importance of love and compassion one for another. Love is that one place of total security and complete serenity. The love of God is absolute while the opposition to it is just as unrelenting. When Jesus came to give us life, the haters of everything that was righteous and holy were put on notice; they could no longer roam this world seeking those they could destroy. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world” (1 Peter 5:8-9). In Jesus, we were given a reprieve, a chance to gain absolute protection from all the depravity and destruction this world could devise. Safety is found in His loving arms, and a positive place of contentment is only found in His desire to share of His marvelous, unfailing love. The amazing gift, which He so willingly offers to all, is to share in His eternal forgiveness and restitution. He gives us the opportunity to become an heir to His eternal glory, away from all the harm and destruction of self-pity and pride.
We are all indwelled beings. Who we are or what we will become is in direct compliance to the one that indwells us. If we allow God to control our lives, then He will make us desire to be kind and loving. When we allow the evil world to control us, our lives become filled with the bitterness and hate that it is so eager to transmit. Earthly policies or directives are never about sacrifice of self, only the uncompassionate sacrifice of others. It is God’s sacrificial love that has taken us from that place of complete hopelessness and despair and given us that hope of a brighter life in Him. We have been given a choice, a choice to live or die. The Bible asks, “What will you take in exchange for your soul?” (Matthew 16:26). This is a philosophic question whose answer identifies our true completeness or our point of spiritual maturity. If we are at an instant in life where we can understand the total significance of this question, we will understand that there is nothing as valuable or important as our eternal soul. To give up what is eternal for something that is momentary and meaningless would classify us as a fool, but as we view life from a worldly perspective, we see things in a distorted view. Momentary madness can never outweigh the promise of eternal glory, but as sinful humanity, our eyes are blinded by the evil of this world and all its promises of maximum attainment. Life in and of itself contains no true fulfillment when it cannot provide itself those things that are needed to insure its eternal survival. Life without its creator will only last for a brief moment and then pass away. Life without the fuel of God’s love to sustain it has no expectancy; it possesses only that momentary hope or vain possibility of existence. When you strike a match on its igniter, it will burn bright as long as it is given the fuel that it needs to keep burning. As a Christian, God gives us the fuel to keep our light glowing bright for Him. If we are not attached to the eternal fuel, which, in our example, is Jesus Christ, then we will, in a short time, cease to glow. The power, or fire of God, is never quenched. We will either be burning brightly through the power and provisions that He gives us as a witness for Him or we will soon be burning in that other place away from Him and all of His marvelous blessings. It is amazing to know that we have been given the choice to win through His amazing grace. We have been given the freedom to partake of those things that are from heavenly places. How wonderful can the true benefits of God become? In the shallow perspective of self-pity and pride, how can we ever see the total splendor of a righteous God? To know God and not to trust Him can give us no true blessing. If we do not love Him the way that He wants us to, we will never place our fears and apprehensions upon Him. If, by our lack of faith, we do not allow Him to work in our lives, we will never experience that comfort or assurance He wants to give. To truly know God is to intensely love Him. To experience Him in His total splendor is to see God as He really is. The most amazing thing about God is that He wants to give an unworthy people His love and blessings. The most devastating failure is to reach for the top and, because of pride and sin, fall short of a goal that could have been obtained through prayer and dedication. Jesus never fails, but unless He is allowed to do all that He can do, He, because of our lack of faith and dependence, cannot give us what is necessary. For God to bless, we must be in that place where He can bless.
God can meet every need, and He can wash away every stain. In His magnificent love, we find the perfection of a thousand welcoming smiles and the assurance of a warm summer day. Without God, there would be no love; and, without love, there would be no forgiveness. To have it all, you must have God. To experience the true beauty of life, you must have God. No matter where you go in life, you will meet God either as your Father or as your righteous judge. God is inescapable. His promises are eternal, and His judgments will remain forever. To escape His wrath, you must accept His love, and to obtain His blessings, you must become His child. How measureless is the love of God, and how marvelous is His forgiveness? What a wonderful combination, God’s love and His power to cleanse; in this, we find all the true blessings of our wonderful Lord. To go your way without the Spirit of God leading you is to travel the road of folly and destruction. There is nothing we can accomplish on our own that will serve any good purpose, and without God, we are sure to fail. True life is God living in and through us, and without His eternal presence, we will surely die. The abundant life that can only be obtained through that continual walk with God is the true meaning of success.
We cannot gain all that is truly obtainable if we spend most of our time checking up on God to see if He is being honest. God has promised to be there for us when we are in the center of His will, and if we do not have the confidence to depend upon His virtue, we will never be all that He has intended for us to be. Knowing that God is our Heavenly Father does not insure our knowing all that He is doing and all that He wants to do. God will tell us and show us all that we need to fulfill His purpose, and to doubt His eternal benevolence is to deny His unquestionable character. The only real secret of God is the day of His return. If we are willing to rely upon His goodness, He will satisfy our longing spirit. God wants to be everything that is needed for our deliverance, and for this purpose, He was willing to die. He came that He could give life, and without our willingness to accept His total objective, we cannot attain all that He has for us. He desires our closeness, and He expects our daily supplication. Prayer, to God, is not only a call for help but also an expression of our adoration and thankfulness. Do we really know God’s true worth? Do we really expect Him to be there when He is needed? Do we want God to fulfill all that He has promised? When we ponder all those who we consider absolutely dependable, God must top the list; and if we are completely honest, He is the only name on the record. The dependability of God is without question, and if this were to be found untrue, our faith would lack any sustainable foundation. God is God, and the only way He can stay God is to remain spotless. To deny God’s perfection is to deny the possibility of eternal life, and without God’s ability to grant us life, we are without any form or possibility of deliverance. The more we contemplate, the more we are brought back to the same truth. God is love, and in that love, all things consist and are made perfect. As sinful humanity, where do we find any joy or consolation in denying or defaming God’s unquenchable love? Without God, we are nothing; we have nothing; and we have no chance of changing our certain, undesirable fate. Without His love, we remain doomed and unforgiven. What is there to gain by the denial of the truth? The heart of a fool refuses to accept what has been confirmed and considered trustworthy. Why do we find it difficult to believe the truth when a great and honorable God has given it to us? The evil of this world has placed in our hearts the feeling of hate, and we allow its depravity to rule our every thought and action. When we are confronted by the quality of love, we see its contrast and become opposed to its opposition. We have been educated to no longer accept things for their importance or rationality but have been fooled into accepting only the ordinary and effortless. We do not desire true joy but wanton pleasure; we have given up the search for eternal bliss and have accepted momentary gratification. Where do the lost find any place to scorn the believer? In the obtainment of God’s love, there is no place for jealousy; the love of God has been provided for all. Love without a purpose has no true merit, and as we view God’s intent, we see His miraculous purpose. One of the true ambitions of God’s love is not what we have been given but what we have been spared; it is not where we are going but from where we have been taken. To imagine the joy of living in an eternal heaven can never be minimized or overrated, but to be spared the agony and torture of an eternal hell, how do you ever appreciate its significance. Surely, it must be these extremes that make heaven so wonderful. Denying sin its final predicament is the true reason God did not spare His only Son. Whether it was His compassion to redeem or His desire to share, we have been given that blessed hope of eternal comfort. Forgive me when I say that I do not care what God’s reason was for saving me; I am just thankful that He did, that He has. It is only by God’s love that I have been able to write the words I have written. As I pray for His knowledge and understanding, I know it is God who must bless and deliver all. It is up to Him to make good on His promises. The words I have written have been given to me from my heart, but to God, they are the promises of His undying favor.
Words that have been read are only there to inform and influence me. If I am to examine their importance and apply their relativity, then and only then will I experience their redemptive power. Jesus is the only hope of eternal glory and the only chance of a better life here on earth. Why have we been given such an awesome gift? Surely, the love of God is without end, and we have been spared the anguish of a life without Him. Knowing His presence can only give me the determination to continue on. Being in His presence can only provide me with those things that I need to succeed. Thank You, Lord, for your marvelous gift. May I ever strive to be worthy of your astounding love. May the pleasant song of my heart and the endless praise of my lips be ever lifted to show my eternal worship. GLH