Alfred Adler in his writings describes maturity as the movement away from self-centeredness to self-giving. It simply means putting the interest of others or the community as a whole ahead of our own wants and desires.
Often Christians look upon the phrase, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”, in different perspectives. The first perspective is the absolute giving of one’s life, by experiencing death on their behalf. The second perspective is that only Jesus was called to make the ultimate sacrifice and most probably human beings are not capable of such a sacrifice. What does it really mean to lay down one’s life for a friend?
When men are called to Holy Orders as priest and deacon or men and women who become a part of religious communities, very much lay down their lives for their friends. Those in Holy Orders or religious life, submit themselves to the service of others and give up many freedoms of the secular life to do so.
Married couples lay down their lives each day for their spouses and their families. They abandon the carefree single life and take on the responsibilities of family and the building of the domestic church.
The time we spend in prayer and good works, are another means of laying down our lives for our friends. During the times of prayer, fasting, and spiritual and corporal works of mercy, we turn away from pleasing the senses or the will and make a conscious decision to offer our time for the salvation of ourselves and our friends.
What is the reward for our efforts and our growth into maturity? Jesus tells us that He fills us with peace that only He can give. The peace Jesus talks about allows us to be content with our station in life.
But there is a caveat (a exception to the rule). The caveat is that we do all that we do out of love. When we love God acts and it releases the Holy Spirit to move in a powerful way to sanctify our prayers and our good works so that they become pleasing to God. We allow all of this to happen because He loved us first and called us to be His disciples and through the Holy Spirit, we will bare fruit abundantly.
God the Father loved us into existence. Let this be the day that we willingly, with all our hearts, all our minds, and all our souls, give back this life to God and say, “Lord, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” and make me an instrument of your peace upon earth.
May God continue to bless you,