Thursday, September 20, 2012

Learning to Love, Part 2a--"Self-Sacrifice"

A restaurant in which my husband and daughter, Lissie, ate a couple of weeks ago in a Central Asian capitol.
Like this beautiful ceiling, I want my love for others to be lavish and rich
As I said in Part 1 of this series of posts, I want to share Paul Tripp's wisdom when it comes to a biblical understanding of a very misunderstood concept--love. Here's his definition:
"Love is willing self-sacrifice for the good of another that does not require reciprocation or that the person being loved is deserving."
Paul David Tripp, What Did You Expect??, Crossway; pg 188--hardback
For me, this definition comes at my soul with pricks and pokes. This isn't really how I want love to work. I want love to be about me. I want attention to be focused on my needs and my wants. In fact, I want to be the center of attention.

However, Tripp makes it painfully clear that there is no such thing as self-focused "love." In his book, Tripp not only defines love. He carefully breaks down each of the thoughts embedded in his scripturally-based definition. Today we'll look at love being an act of self-sacrifice, which, of course, is as far as you can get from the selfish, self-focused "love" our culture touts and which, truthfully, my natural self craves.
"Love is willing self-sacrifice. There's no such thing as love without sacrifice. Love calls you beyond the borders of your own wants, needs, and feelings. Love calls you to be willing to invest time, energy, money, resources, personal ability and gifts for the good of another. Love calls you to serve, to wait, to give, to suffer, to forgive, and to do all these things again and again." (pg.188) 
I mentioned in my last post that Tripp's book is on the subject of marriage. As things so often are in God's economy, the choices I must make to have a strong, healthy, delight-filled marriage are the very same choices that will enable me to be the parent which I long to be.

Whether my focus in any particular moment is on my husband or my children, I cannot do what Tripp lays out as he expounds on the term self-sacrifice. I can't. Not without help anyway. Thankfully, I have a Saviour who has promised me the very strength I need to die--to self that is. All I have to do is ask. Experience--28 years as a wife and 22 years as a mother--tells me that I will, however, have to ask again and again and again and... But God sets no limits on His willingness to come to our aid in our desire to walk in a manner worthy of the gospel.

Paul Tripp has more to say about the concept of loving self-sacrificially. I don't know about you, but I need to chew on just these few sentences for while before I'm ready for more. So, Learning to Love, Part 2b--"Self-Sacrifice" is yet to come.

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