Selfish Ambition

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:13 (KJV)

Lay down his life – Really think about this verse. It has taken on a whole new meaning for me lately. Perhaps after my explanation, it will for you too. What does it truly mean to lay down your life for another? If it is the greatest display of love, should we not understand it completely? And not just understand it, but to actually do it. In a society where martyrs are not frequent, how do you lay down your life for someone else?

τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ θῇ
the life of him should lay down

First it is quite clear that “lay down” means something about placing to the side, or even letting it die. Yeshua continues to talk about persecution and how the world will hate what you stand for.

Second, the word for life is psychē which is “breath” or specifically in this context, the “breath of life.” Putting aside the breath of life is to die. Giving up your own breath so that others might continue breathing is how this plays out.

If this is the greatest love, how can we fulfill it?

One common answer is that we put ourselves last and serve others. We become a servant of men as Yeshua was. But can we take this further? Can we apply this to our very own salvation? Often times questions arise, “Are you saved?” or “If you died today are you confident in your salvation?” Each of these focuses the individual on their own salvation, rather than the salvation of others. Whether or not you are “saved” is trivial in the fulfillment of God’s will and ensuring His work is carried out. Yes, I just wrote that.

Our fixation on the hereafter regrettably causes us to lose sight of the here and now. Quickly we spiral into paradigms like, “Being obedient to God isn’t salvational, so I don’t need to keep the law.” We throw out the baby with the bathwater. Everything becomes about our own salvation. We become selfish.

Let’s change that. What does God need doing now? What can you do for others now? It is time to remove our selfish ambition of salvation and instead build up Israel – God’s kingdom.

You have been made righteous by the blood of the Lamb. Great, now go live righteously. Do something good for someone else. Visit the widows and the orphans. Give to the needy. And do not think that you are earning salvation… do it because God says to. Be obedient, fill your heart with love, and do what is good and just in the eyes of YHVH.

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