From the Bible we are taught that Jesus Christ gave his life for others, specifically, for you and me. Would anyone really do that? Sacrifice himself for the good of other people, some of whom didn't even like him? What kind of world would we have if everybody started doing that?
Yet Jesus did indeed give his life and the Bible also asks his followers to give themselves for others as well. Disciples of Christ are asked to repay evil with kindness, to forgive all hurts and offenses, to share everything they have with anyone who has legitimate need and to show to others the same kind of unselfish love that Jesus demonstrated when he died on the cross for us.
That is a tall order and would require a great deal of change for most of us today. Is such complete change even a possibility for mere human beings, schooled as we are in self-preservation and self-indulgence? The Bible says yes. For those who will see and appreciate the love that Jesus showed and will ask him to forgive and change them, he promises to send his Holy Spirit into their hearts and change their nature into one like his own.
Of course, most will see no advantage to themselves in such a change and so, will not desire it. A few, though, will look at Jesus and begin to hunger for such unselfishness in their own lives. They rightly see the problems and pain that is in our world as being, mostly, the results of selfishness and sin. They long for a world where children and spouses are always loved and cared for, where strangers always treat each other with love and respect, even if their skin colors don't match, and where forgiveness and generosity are commonplace. These will desire to really get to know this Jesus of the Bible and in their search they will find relationship with God himself and the promise of everlasting life.
Those who reject the Bible's offer of salvation will remain as they are but those who receive it and ask for it will be changed into the image of Jesus, which is the image of unselfish love. The Bible says that Jesus is knocking right now on the door of your heart, earnestly longing for you to let him in so he can love you. Why wait? Open your heart and ask him to come in.
Patrick Brayton is a pastor at the Valley Chapel.