“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13
Many love songs have said, “I’d die for you.” We can look at this passage as saying the same thing, “I’d die for Jesus,” but the Greek word for “laying down” (THEA) means to commit, give, or purpose. Each of these interpretations is more about living than dying. But when we think of Christ, we think more about his death for us than his life. But it’s the life he lived, free from the lusts of the flesh, the falling to temptation, and stain of sin, that makes Christ’s death so significant, Hebrews 5:8.
Jesus spent a lifetime of committing himself to the Father. Three times he prayed in the Garden, “Not my will but yours be done.” And this strong level of commitment was evident not only in the difficult times but also in the mundane times as well. In everything Jesus did, he always lived in obedience to God.
A few years back there was a preacher who coined the phrase “time card Christians” for those who clock into Christianity when they walk into the door of the church, and then clock out when they leave. When we commit to become a Christian we pray, “Lord use me,” but when he comes to us, sadly, many of us are too distracted and too busy. If we have given our life to him, if we have truly “laid down our life” to him, then we owe him our life, not just a few hours a week. Conversion to Christianity is a change in lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle, not just a religion.
It’s not too difficult to be a Christian in church. We pray a few times during the couple of hours we are here, we sing songs, and we keep our focus on God. Out in the world, as we go through our week, it is sometimes difficult to keep that same focus. In church, we are surrounded by like-minded people. It is much easier and safer to be around other Christians.
“Laying down your life” is not about ending your life; it is about giving your life for Jesus. Following his example requires us to do it completely, just as Jesus did for us. As you go throughout your week, look at your decisions and see what it is that God would have you to do. Remember, your life may be the only Bible that some people read.