Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Love Lay Down

I used to think that superheroes wore capes. I used to think that success meant that you were better at something than everyone else. And I used to think that love meant making one big sacrifice instead of a thousand little ones.

But I was wrong.


I close my eyes and mouth the words even as they reached my ears.

“Can I have a snack?”

Are we serious. It’s not as if you haven’t eaten once every 27 minutes of this very day.

“Mamaaaa…Averi Kate pooped on the floor.”



There is that. And there is the newborn cry that I don’t have in my house right now, but don’t think for a moment that I’ve forgotten the absolute desperation of wanting to roll over in bed and pretend like I didn’t hear it.

And then there is the clashing of the grown up wills. The urge to burn all the random, half-rolled up socks that I find in every crevice of the house. The compulsion to have the last word in every argument. The tendency to hold every unfulfilled desire against the man who cannot possibly meet them, as hard as he might try.

There is that. And then there is the feeling of being overwhelmed but not knowing why, because the most dramatic thing I did today was to prepare 1.2 million snacks.

And then there is this.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

And in that sentence I find visions of martyrs, of soldiers who die for their neighbors’ freedom, of a Savior who drank the very cup of God’s wrath in my place.

And I think about the snotty noses and hungry tummies and bills and socks in my house and I think, I’m not there.

But then I keep reading, and I watch as the Son of God takes off His robe and bends down and washes the feet of His friends. His friends who don’t get it, His friends who will forsake Him and deny Him and betray Him. Who don’t appreciate the big sacrifice He’s going to make or the little one He’s making right now.

And then I see that laying down one’s life for one’s friends is completely relevant to my life right now.

To lay down my life is to lay down my rights, my pride, my wishes, to serve someone else. And it might culminate in one dramatic moment but more likely it will happen in a thousand moments every day. But the only way I can succeed in laying down my life is to look to the One who defined what love is, to be filled with the vision of Him, and to allow Him to shift my heart’s allegiance from pleasing myself to laying my desires at His feet.

So when I hear the call…


Love lay down your life.

When I’m sick of doing dishes and laundry and cleaning up the same messes I cleaned up an hour ago…

Love lay down your life.

When I want the last word because I know I am right…

Love lay down your life.

Because I serve a Savior who already walked that road, and who is crafting a good work in me, and who is ready to show me that the only way to find my life is to lose it…

Love lay down your life.


This is no call to self-fulfillment
Guarding self interest
Or raising self-esteem
Our God, He is a suffering servant
Who bears our burdens
And washes our feet
So love lay down
Love lay down
Love lay down your life

This is no ordinary kingdom
The first are last and
The weak are made strong
And in the moment we surrender
We find it’s sweeter
Than when we held on
Love lay down
Love lay down
Love lay down your life

So in the middle of the fight
Or in the middle of the night
The need is calling
Love lay down your life
And in your everyday
The bleak and the mundane
The need is just the same
Love lay down your life
When the sacrifice is great
I hear You calling out my name
Take up your cross and follow
Love lay down your life
And when we cannot bear the cost
We will behold You on the cross

Your love will never call us
To go where You have
Not already been
So make us one in Your suffering
That we might know You
And come to understand
That love lays down
Love lay down
Love lay down your life