Day 21

Lay Down Your Life

by Chad Sykes

“This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” 

John 15:12–13

Created to Be

Recently when someone asked me what I like to do for fun, I responded with, “I read books.” I have to admit, sometimes this makes me feel really boring. I wish I had a cool hobby like mountain climbing or rebuilding old motorcycles. The truth is I’m a reader. 

In searching for a book recently, I noticed something interesting. The self-help genre has skyrocketed in popularity! You’ve probably seen these books online or on the shelves at a bookstore. A deluge of books aimed at you becoming the most efficient you, the put-together you, the superhero you. In fact, in 2014, self-help was the world’s bestselling genre. 

The explosive popularity of these books says something about the deepest desire of every human being. We all have an internal drive to be transformed into something beyond what we are now. We all want to become someone. But, what does this journey of becoming someone look like? The story illustrated in most self-help books tells us to relentlessly work on ourselves. We’re offered countless theories, strategies, and applications to get us there. The conclusion is if we heavily invest in ourselves, then we’ll reach our full potential. 

As Christians, however, we have quite another paradigm. To be a follower of Jesus does not mean a constant turning inward to live our best life, but a constant turning outward toward God and others in service, sacrifice, and love. The deep kingdom truth revealed in the life of Jesus is this: only when we forget about ourselves and serve, care for, and love others, will we ultimately become all He made us to be. In fact, look at what Jesus says in Matthew 10:39: “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” Focusing on our own self-development to the exclusion of serving others only results in a distortion of God’s vision for our lives. Jesus is our example, and we are called to follow in His footsteps by doing what He would do and loving as He loves. 

What does this look like in your life today? Are there areas you need to lay down in order to follow Jesus? As we lay down our desires daily and live for the sake of loving and serving others, we’ll find that by God’s grace we’ve become God’s full vision of who He created us to be. Then, and only then, will we become who we’ve always wanted to be. 

Prayer

Father, thank You for sending Your Son into the world to show me how to live in Your kingdom. Show me what You want me to lay down in order to follow You. And just as Jesus freely loved and served people, not even preserving His own life, enable me to do the same. I choose to die to self so I can live for Christ. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

For Further Study

  • John 13:1–17; John 13:34–35; 2 Corinthians 5:14–21
John 13:1–17; John 13:34–35; 2 Corinthians 5:14–21
Chad Sykes
John 15:12–13