Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend . . . . I have called you friends. John 15:13, 15.
Jesus does not ask me to die for Him, but to lay down my life for Him. Peter said—“I will lay down my life for Thy sake,” and he meant it; his sense of the heroic was magnificent. It would be a bad thing to be incapable of making such a declaration as Peter made; the sense of our duty is only realized by our sense of the heroic. Has the Lord ever asked you—“Wilt thou lay down thy life for My sake?” It is far easier to die than to lay down the life day in and day out with the sense of the high calling. We are not made for brilliant moments, but we have to walk in the light of them in ordinary ways. There was only one brilliant moment in the life of Jesus, and that was on the Mount of Transfiguration; then He emptied Himself the second time of His glory, and came down into the demon-possessed valley. For thirty-three years Jesus laid out His life to do the will of His Father, and, John says, “we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” It is contrary to human nature to do it.
If I am a friend of Jesus, I have deliberately and carefully to lay down my life for Him. It is difficult, and thank God it is difficult. Salvation is easy because it cost God so much, but the manifestation of it in my life is difficult. God saves a man and endues him with the Holy Spirit, and then says in effect—‘Now work it out, be loyal to Me, whilst the nature of things round about you would make you disloyal.’ “I have called you friends.” Stand loyal to your Friend, and remember that His honour is at stake in your bodily life.