When the Spirit of God has filled our hearts with the love of God, we begin to identify ourselves with Jesus’s interest in other people—and Jesus is interested in everyone. As his disciples, we have no right to be guided by personal preferences or prejudices. The delight of sacrifice comes from laying down our lives—not from carelessly flinging our lives away or giving them over to a cause but from deliberately laying them down for Jesus and his interests in others.

Paul laid down his life in order to win people to Jesus, not to himself. He sought to attract people to Jesus, never to himself (1 Corinthians 1:13). “I have become,” he wrote, “all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some” (9:22). To do this, Paul had to become a sacramental personality. He didn’t hide away or insist on a holy life alone with God, a life in which he’d be no use to others. Instead, Paul told Jesus to help himself to his life.

Many of us are so caught up in pursuing our own goals that Jesus can’t help himself to our lives. Paul didn’t have any goals of his own. “I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people,” he wrote (Romans 9:3). Wild, extravagant talk, isn’t it? No. When a person is in love, it isn’t extravagant to talk like this, and Paul was in love with Jesus Christ.

Wisdom from Oswald

Beware of isolation; beware of the idea that you have to develop a holy life alone. It is impossible to develop a holy life alone; you will develop into an oddity and a peculiarism, into something utterly unlike what God wants you to be. The only way to develop spiritually is to go into the society of God’s own children, and you will soon find how God alters your set. God does not contradict our social instincts; He alters them.  Biblical Psychology, 189 L