The ultimate motivation for all Christians is love – love for God and for others. But love is not just a feeling or an emotion. Love actually looks like something. Jesus gave us a picture of what it looks like when He said, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Have you ever stopped to ponder that statement? The ultimate picture of love is to be willing to die for the sake of others. Talk about a sobering reality.
Love doesn’t sit back when danger is around, it doesn’t cower in the face of fear and it doesn’t look to its own interests above others. No, love looks quite different than that.
On June 6, 1944, the world got a chance to see exactly what love looked like on a day famously known as D-Day. The battle of Omaha Beach took place during the Allied invasion of France in World War II. Omaha Beach was six miles wide with huge cliffs overlooking the ocean, which basically made an attack a suicide mission. The Americans had been given the great task of taking this beach. The Germans used Dragon’s teeth along the shore and heavily armed resistance nests atop the cliffs to build what was one of the most powerfully fortified positions in war history. As our troops hit the beach that day, the German firepower was tremendous. Because gusting winds and strong currents shifted many of our units off course, the troops who hit the beach had little to no cover. At that point they had to make a choice: save their own lives and run for cover, or lay down their lives and “run toward the bullets.” I thank God they chose to run toward the bullets. This is what love looks like in 1944: running toward the bullets.
Running toward the bullets is never easy, but it is natural if we are motivated by love. With love our natural reaction to danger is to protect others, not to protect ourselves. If we were camping with our kids, love would not allow us to sit back if a wolf showed up around the campfire. Love would not compel us to negotiate or find common ground with a rattlesnake if it showed up in our tent. No, love would motivate us to action – to be willing to stand up and step into harm’s way for the sake of those we love. Just as it did with our troops on D-Day, love calls us to run toward the “bullets” today. And love is willing to fight because love is willing to die.
The picture of love we are seeing from the American church today appears to be quite different than the love Jesus spoke about in John 15:13. We as Christians aren’t springing to our feet to stand in the gap against evil. We are not laying down our lives to be a blessing – we are often protecting ourselves to get the blessing. We have replaced the fear of God with the fear of man – the very thing we have struggled with ourselves. And this man-pleasing spirit has caused an inward focus in many Christians who seek to save only themselves. We has been replaced by Me in the church today. It’s time for a change.
Watch the Benham brothers this Tuesday on LIFE TODAY. Taken from Whatever the Cost by David and Jason Benham. Copyright ©2015 by David Benham and Jason Benham. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.