Ever read something powerful, but afterwards struggled to apply it to your own life until you took a second glance?
That happened to me when I was reading Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by Bob Goff. Love Does is an extraordinary book. It’s full of real stories from Bob Goff’s life, many of which are funny, and important takeaways.
The ending of the book left me with a challenge, how was I going to apply this to my life? How was I going to love? What I learned is that love is action that requires sacrifice and presence, and that we are to love like gloves with the Holy Spirit.
This is how Bob Goff defines love:
“The world makes you think that love can be picked up at a garage sale or enveloped in a Hallmark card. But the kind of love God created and demonstrated for us is a costly one because it involves sacrifice and presence. It’s a love that operates more like a sign language than spoken outright.”Bob Goff
In the story preceding this quote Bob was a teenager who wanted to drop out of high school and move to Yosemite, and that’s exactly what he tried to do. Randy, a Young Life leader, went along with him.
When Bob realized that his plan to live in Yosemite wasn’t going to work, Randy told him, “I’m with you either way.” He didn’t try to convince Bob one way or the other, he just said, “I’m with you either way.
To Bob Goff, that’s what “love does” means. Let’s take a look at how Randy demonstrated sacrificial, present love.
It wasn’t convenient for Randy to follow Bob to Yosemite. Later in the chapter, we learn that Randy has just gotten engaged. Randy sacrificed time with his fiancée to be with Bob, a runaway high school kid!
What are some ways we can demonstrate sacrificial love? Maybe it’s helping your brother with something instead playing the video game you wanted to. Maybe it’s calling your grandmother instead of visiting your friends.
Randy’s sacrificial love changed Bob for the better. Jesus says in John 15:13 that “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (NIV) Cheap, easy, convenient love does not have the same influence.
Randy was present during this confusing time in Bob’s life. When Bob was feeling down, Randy was there. Presence, aka being there for someone, is a meaningful way to show love. Show up to things. Talk to people. This is how you show that you’re present.
If you show up only during the good times, then your relationship is all fun. If you show up only during the bad times, then you’re more of a counselor than a friend. When you are with someone during the highs and lows, it shows that you care.
To be honest, I struggled with this a lot during social distancing. How are you supposed to be there if you can’t actually be there for someone? We have to be creative in the ways we show up, even if it’s just a text.
1 John 3:18 says it this way: “Dear children, let us not love with words and speech, but with actions and in truth.” (NIV)
You’re a glove
Sacrificial, present love is not easy, I’m more selfish than I would like to admit. After a long, hard day, I want to go to my room and take a nap. I don’t want to help my sister with math or unload groceries. My excuse? “I’m too tired.” Can you relate?
I was listening to an episode called “Be Filled with the Spirit (Part 1)” from John MacArthur’s series The Fundamentals of Faith when I heard this quote:
“Well, as a Christian, you’re a glove and you can lie around on the table and grunt until you die, but you’re never going to affect anything for God until you’re filled with His Spirit. Because a glove can’t do anything without a hand and you can’t do anything without the energy of the fullness of the Spirit.”John MacArthur
This quote reminds me that I’m a glove and gloves can’t move anything on their own. I can’t demonstrate this sacrificial, present love on my own. Gloves need to be moved by a hand. I need to be moved by God.
1 John 4:11-13 says this: “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit.” (NIV)
I don’t have an excuse for not loving people with real love, because if I’m truly a Christian, I depend on God, and God is love.
What do you think? Has anyone showed you sacrificial and present love? How did it impact you? What are some ways we can love like gloves?