• Jason Wade


12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:12-13

As we step into day two this week and dig deeper into this word called LOVE, I am always curious to see the extent that we would take to show our love. I know that having conversations with my dad at an early age, I always asked him, "Dad, would you give your life for another person?" Without hesitation my dad would respond, "To protect my family and my country I would give the ultimate sacrifice." WOW... There was no doubt in my mind that my father would be willing to give all he had to help anyone that was in need, but I never really understood the concept of giving the ultimate price until I later became a Christian a father myself. Love is such a crucial word that continues to direct so many different paths that we walk down. For example, people may love a sports team so much that they would sacrifice the financial security of their family to be there at every game regardless of their record and regardless of the circumstance. Also, I have watched throughout my life as people have been willing to travel to different areas of the world to pursue their dream of becoming famous in the world's eyes, or even just getting glimpse at a superstar that they have admired for a small time in their life. Love takes on so many roles, but it really is the intent of the heart that totally directs the path that we take and the outcomes that may follow.

I say all of this because when I was growing up, I too had aspirations and dreams that would make me, in my mind, successful. From playing different sports and following a certain career path, I really believed that if I was able to attain a certain status I would be happy and be able to share the love I had found through success to the rest of the world. My goal was to make. difference in the world in hopes of the world knowing my name and responding with love in turn. Then God showed up. Yeah, not that God had not always been there, but God began to work in my heart and open my eyes to see love in a different manner. It stopped being about my personal success and I was more falling in love with helping others and equipping others to experience God's love and passion for life in the same way I had. I was able to go on mission trips and youth retreats. I was able to see lives change and I found myself giving every penny I had to help as many students as possible see and experience the

power of God's love multiplied the actions of our hearts. I was able to see and experience more in my younger life than many people would have the ability to see or experience in a lifetime. And that is when God showed up and helped retrain my heart and my mind to see that true love is about giving it away to help others multiply the effects of God's love to the world. It was in watching my dad give o this time and efforts to show love and pour out into the lives of people he didn't even know that spurred me on to follow in his footsteps and do the same, and it did not matter the color of your skin, your baggage or background. All we saw and what I continue to see is another chance to multiply the love of God into the lives of every student, parent, older adult, and stranger that I meet.

It has taken me a long time to live into that mentality and I am not saying that you will being to be like me or even want to be like me in the years to come. I am saying that when God's love finally shows up in your life, there is nothing more that you will want to do but share God's love to every person that you meet. There is a complete renovation and restoration that occurs and your mindset is now on doing everything possible to help others and pass the torch and not worry about the small things because God will take care of that for us. In John's scripture today, we hear directly from the voice of God where Jesus is speaking to the disciples past, present and future. Jesus is trying to help instill within us a pattern or lifestyle that reciprocates the LOVE that was fully given on our behalf. What an amazing way to look at love and how it will effect our total person. Jesus says, or excuse me commands us by saying, "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." I know that many of you are ready to dissect this and put stipulations on this so let me help you out a little. Jesus is calling us to share HIS LOVE, HIS SACRIFICIAL LOVE, HIS UNDYING LOVE to a world that does not deserve in the same manner that we did not deserve it. He has now quantification on how much or qualification of who should receive this love. He is COMMANDING us to go the furtherest limits of our abilities to express AGAPE LOVE, GOD's UNDYING LOVE, to EVERY person that we encounter. We are to go to the ultimate extent and give our lives, maybe in death...maybe in service... maybe in prayer and stillness... maybe financially.... I don't know how God is going to ask you, but we are to go to the fullest extent to give others the same gift of LOVE that God gave to us through the life of Jesus.

Yeah, and I know that many of us are ready to stop and only give the minimum because we see a stipulation in verse 13. Jason, Jesus specifically say we ONLY lay down our lives for "ONE's FRIENDS". Not the whole world, but only for those in our closest circles. And I will help you out with that as well. The Greek word that Jesus uses here is philos. This term means a deep, brotherly connection that we have with people. We see this term in the word Philadelphia which means city of brotherly love. And I will say, Yes, we are to start with those that we already have a connection to and a foot in the door to share this love of God. However, if you read the very next verse, Jesus uses the same word to say I no longer call you servants, but I call you friends. There is an adoration here... and intimate change in the

way that we are to look at others as being beneath us and actually looking at them as a part of the larger Family of God. So we are called to love every person that we meet... every person that we encounter the same opportunity to experience the love that God gave through Jesus. So today, we dig deeper into that concept and I will continue to challenge all of us to open our eyes to the people that we encounter each day. It may be as simple as saying God loves you... or it may be as intricate of investing years of your life into their future. But regardless of who it is... we are called to do everything in our power to share the message of God's love. It starts with ONE... Who will be your ONE today? Who's life will be changed for eternity because or your willingness to go beyond your own personal limits and express the LOVE of God to our extended family that is in this world? To what extent did God show His love? Jesus came and stretched out His arms and said, this is how much I love you... Are we willing to do the same? Are we willing to go the furtherest extent and show UNCONDITIONAL LOVE to our friend?

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