Jesus doesn’t ask us to die for him; he asks us to lay down our lives for him. When Peter said, “I will lay down my life for you” (John 13:37), he meant that he would give up every selfish pursuit and devote his energy, his life force, to following Jesus. Peter’s sense of the heroic was magnificent. It would be a bad thing to be incapable of making the kind of declaration Peter made. The way we understand our duty depends on our own sense of the heroic. If we think heroism means falling on our sword, we think wrongly. It is much easier to die than to lay down our lives day in and day out with the sense that we are answering a higher calling.

For thirty-three years, Jesus laid down his life to do the will of his Father. John says that we should imitate our Lord; we should lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters (1 John 3:16). This isn’t easy. To humble ourselves for others in this way goes against human nature. But we weren’t made for brilliant moments alone. There was just one brilliant moment in the life of our Lord, and that was on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17). Before and after this moment, Jesus lived where we do—in the valley of the everyday.

“I have called you friends” (John 15:15). If we are friends of Jesus, we will deliberately and carefully lay down our lives for him. It is difficult—and thank God it is! Salvation is easy for us because it cost God so much. It is only right that putting salvation to work in our lives should be difficult. God saves us and gives us the Holy Spirit, then asks us to work out what he has worked in. He asks us to remain loyal to him, though everything around us would make us disloyal.

Remain loyal to your friend, and always remember that his honor is at stake in your life.

Wisdom from Oswald

We all have the trick of saying—If only I were not where I am!—If only I had not got the kind of people I have to live with! If our faith or our religion does not help us in the conditions we are in, we have either a further struggle to go through, or we had better abandon that faith and religion.  The Shadow of an Agony, 1178 L