Sunday, December 2, 2007

To Be Real: Unselfish

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13

Pinocchio had proven to be brave and truthful. The last thing Pinocchio had to accomplish to become a real boy was to prove to be unselfish. He had to give away something that was dear to him.

He’d come deep into the ocean to rescue his father, Geppetto, from the whale that had swallowed him. After building a fire to make the whale sneeze, they found themselves on a raft being tossed across the ocean’s raging waves. As they washed violently to shore, Pinocchio rescued Geppetto, and then drowned in the shallow waters of the shoreline. He gave his very life to save him. The one thing Pinocchio wanted most, to be alive and real, he was willing to give up for Geppetto.

God wants us to love each other in that same way. If it took your life to save another, would you be willing to give it? I won’t answer that question and I don’t expect you to either. But that is the goal in which we should strive to reach - to love others more than ourselves. Jesus did it and if we are to be true Christians, that same spirit of love must live inside us.

God had to teach me a hard lesson about loving others on deep levels instead of superficially. When He caused me to examine my heart what I was not pretty. In fact it was down right ugly sin. I had created in my heart a set of requirements for whom I would love and be friends with. I wanted to be friends only with those who lifted me up, instead of lifting up others. I wanted to feel good in their presence rather than letting them feel good about being in mine. I wanted to be friends with those that could benefit me instead of looking to be a benefit to someone else. I didn’t want to be around smelly people, dirty people, needy people, sad people, or hurting people. God convicted my heart of the sifting I did in loving other. What I was giving was not love. It wasn’t even friendship. It was selfishness. Nobody could live up to my standards every day of the week!

But then He caused me to see myself as He did. I saw my “friend filter” and He condemned me. I had to see that I was only a child of God like everyone else. I wasn’t worthy of anything, and everything I had He had given me. When you realize that God’s grace levels the playing ground for us all, you realize that you have nothing to offer anyone. It’s then that you can love others as yourself. It’s then that you can offer what you have to others without feeling remorse. It’s then that you seek to be a blessing rather than be blessed.

What Pinocchio wanted most was to be alive, and he gained that life by giving his to Geppetto. The blue fairy returned at his death, and gave him not only the life of a wooden boy, but he became a real boy. He gained true life!

Do you desire to be real with God? Do you want to walk beside Him and feel His love in your heart? I can and do testify to you that loving others will cause you to be closer to Him. God is love and those who seek Him must seek to love and be loved.

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