(1John KJV) Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down
his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
Every time I read this scripture something happens on the inside of me that I cannot explain. Perhaps it is because it is impossible for the natural mind to understand this kind of love. For example, we may know that the Lord loves us but we do not understand why.
It is more natural for us to associate being loved as a response to something good we did, rather than getting it for free. Our conscience is appeased when we feel that we earned it and therefore we have a right to it. We simply do not know how to act concerning the love in our text.
I have come to the conclusion that there are different levels of love and there may be little or no association between each of them. There is a neighborly kind of love, but you may not want your neighbor to borrow your car. There is a sibling kind of love, but there could be a little jealously or competitiveness between you that could alter things. Then there is the instinctive protective kind of love that is in our text.
This kind of love is impossible to explain because it is instinctive. However, not everything that is instinctive is love, but that which is, is a mystery.
I got up yesterday morning and put on my hat, boots and jeans and headed out to our annual livestock and rodeo show. This show was billed as the biggest bull riding contest ever, with a purse of $100,000 for the winner. As a matter of fact it was billed as “Extreme Bull Riding.”
Bull riders are usually young men of smaller stature, but with more courage per square inch than those in most any other sport. I sat there all afternoon and watched these young men being thrown all over the place like rag dolls as they tried to stay on their bull for eight l-o-n-g seconds.
After a while I began noticing one particular clown that was incredible. An angry bull had just thrown its rider off and it wheeled around to charge the rider on the ground...who was only about three feet away. This one particular clown instinctively dove on top of the fallen bull rider in order to protect him from this angry sixteen hundred pound charging bull. At the same time another clown was in the face of the bull—which distracted the bull to focus on him. All of this took place in less than a second because it was all instinctive.
I sat there the rest of the afternoon and watched this particular clown repeat this same act of bravery on multiple occasions. I came to the conclusion that it takes a lot more courage to be this kind of a clown than it does to be the bull rider. It would be impossible for this clown to do what he did if it were not for his instinctiveness.
While watching the clown I began to understand our text a little deeper and the God level of love that is instinctive as communicated to us in our text.
Increase our God instincts and make us more like You in word, thought and deed. Help up not to yield to our natural instincts of selfishness and self-preservation, but to yield only to the deeper instincts of Your character.