“For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies.” (Ephesians 5:25–28, NLT)
One of the most striking observations about loyalty is that sacrifice deepens it! When a man gives up his life for his wife, her heart is drawn to this selflessness in ways no one can even begin to measure!
Each month, as I have sought to find new ways to give up for Melodee, she has responded. Do not get the idea I have always sacrificed for her – the truth is I have failed more than I have succeeded. Yet, as I have attempted to fulfill the model of Jesus in my sacrifice for Melodee, she has been drawn to me more and more deeply.
Many times I can see my self-centeredness in the little things. Those things include who orders first when we buy ice cream, who gets served first at the dinner table or who gets to pick the movie we watch on TV. Sacrifice is measured one decision at a time in the context of others!
Missional leaders of Jesus Christ know they must love those around them “as they love their own bodies.” This can be difficult for the self-possessed person. Like a demonic invasion, our selfish nature refuses to let go. We can be strangled by our cravings. And yet, people are not loyal to those who are self-centered. Long-term relationships are sustained when people sense we have their best in mind.
In your local community, you will be amazed at how this sacrifice for another person, this loyalty, rewards itself. You see, outside the church it is, “every person for himself.” Every day and everywhere people notice the loyalty that compassionate love brings. When you step out of your way to help another person in your neighborhood, people notice. When you repeatedly pour into the lives of others in your community, with no thought of personal reward, friendship develops quickly. This becomes a great bridge for communicating love and, eventually, the Lord Jesus as well.
If you enjoyed today’s leadership post, you can read the rest of it in Dr. Smith’s book, Gathering Missional Leaders: Creating a Biblical Environment for Exponential Leadership Development. You can purchase the book by following this link.