If you’ve ever seen sacrificial love demonstrated, you know that it happens when one person loves so much that their own needs, feelings, and apprehensions are cast aside, so that they might lavish love on someone else.
One Sunday when the children were called down to meet my husband for Pastor’s Pals (a time of Pastor teaching the children an object lesson from the Bible), one brother came rushing ahead, his arm extended and his fist thrusting a wrapped sucker forward like a soldier wielding his sword in battle. As he reached my husband he said, “Here, Pastor C.! I have a sucker for you!” His younger brother, right on his heels, and not wanting to be outdone, opened his very wet mouth, pointed to the hard candy that he was sucking on, and proclaimed, “Here Pastor C! I brought you my piece of candy!” What a clash of pictures – one of true sacrifice to demonstrate love, and one giving of the “leftovers” in the appearance of love.
In Luke 7 we see another picture of sacrificial love. The passage reads:
36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.
37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.
40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?
50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
This woman, who had formerly had the lifestyle and reputation of a harlot, but has been forgiven of her sin, hears that Jesus is eating dinner at the Pharisee’s house and goes to anoint his feet with ointment. She cast aside all the fears that might have plagued her in order to step inside the doorway of love.
What might she have been afraid of?
- rejection – What if the Pharisee sent her away?
- denial – What if Jesus refused her lavish gift?
- being cast out – What if the people laughed and put her out of the house?
- being stoned – What did the Pharisees want to do to the woman taken in adultery?!
Though these fears must have been real, she loved Jesus so much that she was willing to put herself at risk to meet him at Simon’s house and pour out lavish love on Him.
Stop and consider the blessing she would have missed had she listened to her fears! Her story wouldn’t be in the Scriptures for us an example! The pharisee would never have understood what it looks like for a person to be so thankful that their sins are forgiven.
Fear hinders us from enjoying all that God has for us, too!
What does fear do?
- Fear robs you from enjoying the present moment
- Fear robs your joy
- Fear robs your testimony as a believer
- Fear robs your words of praise and encouragement
- Fear robs God’s place on the Throne of your heart
Fear loses its power when we actively trust God more than what we fear.
To conquer over fear we must:
- Replace your fear with Truth from God’s Word. Memorize Scripture that will put your thoughts on Him instead of what you’re afraid of! Here are a few of my favorite:
II Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Psalm 138:8a The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me:
I John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
- Think about God’s attributes instead of what is frightening you.
- God loves me.
- God is ruling over this situation.
- God is powerful.
- God is present with me.
- God can only do what is best for me.
- Pray, really pray and give the fear to God. Talk to Him about it. He already knows, of course, but give it to Him and then get up off your knees and experience the peace only He can give.
- Serve someone and get your mind off yourself.
- Sing and praise instead of fear and doubt!
Are you letting some fear hinder you from enjoying the blessing of all God has for you? Trust His Word and His presence instead, and then, just as the woman here in Luke 7, you will enjoy the blessing of His presence!
What fears need to be replaced in your life today?
On Thursday we’ll continue this story from Luke 7 and we’ll learn about how to respond to being forgiven so much!