What would you do for someone you love?
There was an article on the BBC website yesterday: "The things we sacrifice to make a relationship work". (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-41147235) It's a rather sterile headline. It was prompted by Japan's Princess Mako announcing her engagement to a commoner. This means under Japanese law, she must forgo her royal status.
As the article stated "...many will make sacrifices for love."
I can remember the things that I used to do when I first started going out with my wife. The flowers. The notes. The travelling across town just to snatch half-an-hour together. The well chosen, expensive gifts (and some pretty badly chosen ones as well!). A lot of it was driven by my insecurities. But most of it was driven by an overwhelming desire to please someone else. To make them happy. To bring them joy. A desire to give to someone else. That's love.
We make sacrifices because we love someone, not so that we secure their love.
Sadly I fear that if you asked my wife today if I had managed to keep up my tangible levels of affection she'd probably smile kindly and say, "Well things are different when you've been married for 25 years." Which is a nice way of saying, "No! Not even close!"
The flowers in our house where bought by someone else. I can't remember the last time I bought her a spontaneous gift. And I when we get time together we tend to collapse on the sofa in front of the TV, rather than speak sweet nothings over a romantic meal.
I know I need to do something about it. And I need to do something about my love for Jesus as well.
Because I remember my first love for Jesus. The way that I was amazed that he would give himself for me. That he would die in my place. The joy I felt as I knew that I was a forgiven, adopted child of God. The certainty I felt about the truth of the gospel. That it was such good news that it had to be shared.
I became a Christian at a Bible talk on a Friday night and then took my friend Tony to the talk on the Saturday. Certain that he needed to hear. Certain that the good news about Jesus was so obvious that everyone who heard it would respond as I did. I was stunned when he didn't. I couldn't understand why he wouldn't want to become a Christian!
There is no greater sacrifice made for love than that made by the Lord Jesus Christ. A love for people that don't love him in return. He knows how cold our hearts are, so he promises to work in us so that we feel his love. As Paul says in Romans 5:8 "God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."
Yet as time goes on we can lose our first love. Just like a marriage, our relationship with Jesus can become humdrum. Stale. Matter of fact, rather than heart movingly life changing. That was the problem of the church in Ephesus in the first century. They knew their doctrine. They could spot of whiff of wickedness at a hundred paces and frowned upon those known sinners. They worked hard for the Lord. But Jesus verdict on them in Revelation 2 is "4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first."
I'm praying that I might gaze upon the beauty of Jesus more in His word the Bible. I might reflect upon his love for me. His faithful, unchanging, costly, sacrificial love. And that in His grace God would move my heart to love him a little more again in return.