I am going to come right out and say it: I hate swimming.
I’m not joking. I absolutely despise being wet. Swimming is (usually) in no way fun for me. Now when I was a kid, I loved water. I was always in the water, my parents called me a fish, I went to swim camps, swam on a ‘team’, etc. I loved to swim. I don’t really know what happened, but about a year ago, I lost the joy I had in swimming. I don’t like it, and I avoid it as much as possible now.
But there is something that motivates you to do things you do not like.
Love motivates you to sacrifice your happiness for someone else’s.
My best friend loves to swim. I mean, he absolutely loves it. And you know what? During summer camp, I had zero intentions of swimming. ZERO. You couldn’t catch me in that nasty lake if I was dead. Like, literally, if I was dead, I would’ve fought you. There was not a chance on the earth that I was going to get in that water above my ankles.
But love motivates you to do things that make you uncomfortable for someone else’s happiness.
But when your best friend wants to go swimming, and you have nothing better to do, and you both just want to hang out, and your best friend can beg like nobody’s business; by golly, you’re going swimming.
At first I denied it, I would only get my feet wet. But he was ecstatic that I was even going down to the lake. As soon as we got there (there were 7 of us), I was quickly ensued into going a little deeper. Before I knew it, I was up to my knees.
Then my waist.
Then my chest.
“I just won’t get my hair wet.” I told myself. Yeah right.
After numerous threats of dunking me under, I finally decided to just surface dive. I was swimming.
I didn’t necessarily enjoy the swimming itself, but I enjoyed being silly with my best friend. A few other friends were there, and we all had a good time. We had water fights, and we practically acted like maniacs; but we had a good time. I had fun, not because I was swimming, but because people I loved were having fun.
Then my best friend called my mom and asked if our family would come to their lake property for a day. I was excited that we would hang out, but again, I really hate swimming. 2 other families came up as well, and we had a blast. We went swimming for hours, we went tubing, boating, water-skiing, and knee-boarding. It was actually a lot of fun!
Sometimes having fun does not pertain to the activity you are participating in, but to the people you are participating with.
All in all, I learned that when I see my best friend smile over something, or another friend get excited, it makes me happy. Not because I particularly enjoy the activity, but because I enjoy them, and their company.
Love is making sacrifices. Sure, this is just a small example; perhaps even a childish one. But I know this:
I had the opportunity to make myself extremely uncomfortable in order to bring my best friend joy, and I took it. I was not comfortable, at all, but it enabled me to participate in my friends’ happiness and excitement.
Love is about sacrifices. Not all sacrifices are big. Love is about the sacrifice itself, not the size of it. Yes, it was a simple and small sacrifice in comparison to others, but that’s okay. It’s a start isn’t it?
In a previous post I spoke of teenagers and love. I think this is a good example. I know that I love my friends, I truly love them. Yes, my sacrifices are smaller than that of an adult; but they are still sacrifices. They are still demonstrations of love.
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” 1 Corinthians 13 (KJV)
I love that the King James Version uses the word ‘charity’, because it demonstrates that love must be an action carried out, and it is not something we necessarily feel. I tell my siblings, “I may not always like you, but I will always love you.” It’s true. Love does not have to do with liking someone. I get irritated, or angry, but that does not change the fact that I love them, and I always will.
If Jesus loved us how modern day people think of love, we would be in a boatload of trouble.
Seriously. If He had anything but the sacrificial, perfect love that He has for us, we wouldn’t have salvation. Where would the sacrifice come from? God requires a perfect sacrifice, and if Jesus had nothing but ooey gooey ‘love’, He would not have died. If He had not truly loved us, we would’ve had no chance at salvation.
Instead, God demonstrated His love toward us. He demonstrated it. It was an action He took, not something He felt. It wasn’t even for someone who was perfect, deserving of His love. No, it was for wretched sinners.
“For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person, one would even dare to die.” (Romans 5:7 ESV)
But He died for sinners. Dirty, wretched, evil, sinners. He came to save the lost and undone. He sacrificed His life, He left heaven to come down to earth, to die for sinners.
But He didn’t just die; that’s the amazing part. He arose from the dead. He endured immense suffering and ridicule, just so we (those who are saved by His amazing sacrifice) could love and serve Him. He died so we would be made free from sin and death, and move into His glory.
So you know what? This is where my favorite verse comes into play.
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18 (KJV)
Our sacrifices, our sufferings, though they seem awful now, are not even worthy to be compared to the glory we will soon see. Wow. The extent of our worst sufferings are not even worthy to be compared with His glory. Wow.
What an incredible truth. I am so blessed to be His bond-servant.
Walk in HIS Victory,