Five Words to Live By: Love
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
Recommended Reading – John 3:16-17
It was the English poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning who began one of her most famous poems with this line: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” She went on to enumerate the various ways her love could be measured and described. And her last line comes close to a biblical thought: “I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.”
Saying that her love would only be perfected in heaven comes close to the idea Jesus shared with His disciples: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” Love may be perfected in heaven, but the pinnacle of love on earth is to deny oneself and prefer the needs of others over one’s own — even to the point of laying down one’s life, as Jesus would demonstrate only a few hours after stating these words. It would be wrong to think Jesus was talking only about literal death. There are many ways to die to oneself in the pursuit of loving and serving others while living.
Paul said the greatest virtue of all is love (1 Corinthians 13:13), and Jesus said the best way to demonstrate it is by dying to self while living for others.
We are as we love, not as we know.