We have to make a conscious decision to not love our lives and to die daily.

Revelations 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

We have to learn how to endure long, be patient, and be kind. There are three positive things about what love is in this verse: enduring long, being patient, and being kind. The rest of the description of love says the things that are not love.

I Corinthians 13:4-5 (Amplified Bible) Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

Jesus said to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily (Luke 9:23). Before we were saved, we acted unkind and insisted on our way. When we get saved, we have to consciously decide to not act some ways. When Jesus called the apostles, they didn’t hesitate to leave all. We can’t have any hesitation to leave all and deny ourselves to follow Jesus and do God’s will.

Matthew 4:18-22 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw…Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea…And he saith…Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on…he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

In a marriage or with our neighbors or those we work with, we have to give our all to show God’s love. Our love can’t be rude or demanding our own way. Jesus said to “love one another as I have loved you…” (John 13:34) and that’s 100%. If you love your spouse, you will want to make them happy even when you have a difference of opinion. If issues get too big, then pride will come in and you will demand your own way.

Jesus told a certain ruler (Luke 18:16-22) who said he did all the commandments since his youth that he had to sell all. The man went away sad. Jesus saw what was in the heart of the man who said he needed to go bury his father first before he followed. We can’t love our family more than God. We can’t say, “I have to do such and so” when God asks us to do something. Jesus saw in their hearts that these were not willing to put God first.

Luke 9:57-62 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Jephthah made a vow after the Spirit came on him to give whatever he saw to the Lord if he returned home safely. He said “whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house…shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering…” Adam Clark’s commentary says the accurate translation by scholars is “I will consecrate it to the Lord, or I will offer it for a burnt-offering; that is, “If it be a thing fit for a burnt-offering, it shall be made one; if fit for the service of God, it shall be consecrated to him.” Jephthah was willing and so was his daughter for her to be a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1).

Judges 11:29-40 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed…over unto the children of Ammon. And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace…shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering. So…the Lord delivered them into his hands…And Jephthah came to …his house, and, behold, his daughter came out…And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low…for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back. And she said unto him, My father…do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth; forasmuch as the Lord hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies…And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go…and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows. And he said, Go…she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains. And…at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow…That the daughters…lament the daughter of Jephthah…four days in a year.

Many served at the temple, approximately 90% men and 10% women. Women had to be virgins and served by washing clothes, cooking, and singing. Anna was serving at the temple with fasting and prayers when Jesus was brought as a baby. Samuel was dedicated as a living sacrifice to serve at the temple by his mother Hannah. We’re dedicated to the Lord and must offer ourselves willingly to serve God. Paul prayed about his affliction 3 times. He gave himself and saw the situation as an opportunity. He said “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (II Corinthians 12:9). We need to pray for God’s will as Jesus did, “nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

Jacob loved Rachel and worked so he could marry her. His father-in-law tricked him to marry Leah first but he didn’t love her. She named their first son Rueben since she thought Jacob saw her affliction and would love her (Genesis 29:32). By the time she had the fourth son, she named him Judah saying, ”Now will I praise the Lord…” (Genesis 29:35). Joseph was Rachel and Jacob’s son. Jacob loved Joseph so Joseph’s brother’s who were Leah’s sons hated him. Some of them wanted to kill him, but Rueben saved Joseph from them killing him (Genesis 37:21). Rueben was the oldest son of Jacob so was supposed to be responsible to care for all the brothers. Judah also kept the others from killing Joseph, saying they should sell him to some Ishmaelites headed for Egypt. Rueben and Judah didn’t have murder in their hearts for Joseph.

Genesis 37:23-28…when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours…and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat bread…and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites…bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. And Judah said …What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother…his brethren were content. Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they…sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.

When a famine came, Jacob sent the brothers to Egypt without Benjamin, Joseph’s younger brother. They brought food from Egypt but had to leave Simeon and were told not to return unless they brought Benjamin. They ran out of food and Jacob said to go back. Judah was willing to give his life as insurance that Benjamin would return to Jacob.

Genesis 43:8-14 And Judah said…Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die…I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever…And their father Israel said unto them, If it must be so now, do this; take of the best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down the man a present…Take also your brother, and arise, go again unto the man: And God Almighty give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin…

Jacob trusted Judah because he was willing to give his life. He was concerned for his father.

Genesis 44:18-29 Then Judah…said, Oh my lord, let thy servant…speak a word in my lord’s ears, and let not thine anger burn against thy servant…My lord asked his servants, saying, Have ye a father, or a brother? And we said…We have a father, an old man, and a child of his old age…and his brother is dead…And thou saidst…Bring him down unto me, that I may set mine eyes upon him. And we said…The lad cannot leave…his father would die. And thou saidst…Except your youngest brother come…ye shall see my face no more…And our father said, Go…buy us a little food. And we said, We cannot go down…my father said…if ye take this also from me, and mischief befall him, ye shall bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.

Joseph was touched to his heart and cried because his brothers had changed and now cared about their dad. We all need a burden and concern for souls where we aren’t worried about what people think about us. We’ll be rude, selfish, touchy, fretful, and resentful without the love of God when we love our life most. We’ll not forgive when we’re wronged.

(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)