Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross! Philippians 2: 5-8
With Valentine’s Day coming up, and thoughts of romance on people’s minds, I’d like to share some thoughts about true love excerpted from my book, BARRIERS (So, if prayers are so powerful, how come mine don’t get answered?)
In the popular movie “A Knight’s Tale,” the knight, William, has one desire – the love of the lady Jocelyn. Or at least he believes she is his one desire. He has trained long and hard for the impending tournament and is confident he can beat all the others and win her hand. But the lady seems unimpressed with his declaration of love, even annoyed with his boasting. Finally in desperation he cries, “What can I do to prove my love for you?” It is then that she drops the proverbial bomb.
“If you love me, fight poorly. Lose.”
William cannot believe she is serious, but she insists. In order to prove to her that he loves her, he is to go out and lose. He wrestles with the proposition, then in frustration he declares defiantly, “I will not lose!”
Lady Jocelyn looks him in the eye and declares with equal defiance, “Then you do not love me.”
At first it seems the lady is a few bricks short of a castle, but as I thought about it, I concluded, She’s a genius!
Think about it. A knight could fight to win a tournament for many reasons – riches, ambition, pride, success, gloating privileges, all the glory that goes with being the victor. Winning the lady’s hand could just be an extra bonus. But Jocelyn doesn’t want to be a perk. She wants a man who will love her more than anything – more than wealth, popularity, admiration – more than himself and his own ego. Her request is brilliant. It also says something about her priorities when it comes to love. Most ladies of the day would be proud to be won by the best, most popular, most glorious knight, but she would rather have true love than the prestige of being the champion’s lady.
[Spoiler Alert] The day of the tournament William rides out with much fanfare, amid the shouts of his many admirers, while Jocelyn sits in the gallery looking bored. But when it comes his turn to fight, much to the dismay of his squires, William allows himself to be struck without any resistance whatsoever. After numerous harsh blows, his bewildered squires cry, “Why are you doing this?”
“I don’t know!” he cries, as bewildered as they are.
But Jocelyn knows why, and suddenly she is interested in the tournament. Unable to sit, she jumps to her feet. But then, apparently weak in the knees, she leans against a pole for support. As she watches her knight passively receiving the beating of his life, she murmurs incredulously, “He loves me!”
So, what does this have to do with divine perspective?
Christians, especially American Christians, seriously underestimate the differences between the ways of the world and the ways of the Kingdom of God.
From the day Jesus entered the world in the flesh, the way He did things was the direct opposite of what people expected of the Messiah. The King of the universe was born in a barn. He was raised in a humble home, hung out with the lowliest people. And how did He prove His love for us? Not by wiping out His enemies in a glorious show of power, but by allowing Himself to be beaten, mocked, spat on, stripped naked, and nailed to a cross to die a criminal’s death.
So, as I watched William taking a beating for the woman he loved, I had a sense of deja vu from another film, “The Passion of the Christ.” I remembered, as I had watched the portrayal of Jesus taking so much abuse without resistance, having been acutely aware that He could have stopped it any time He chose to. He could so easily have been the conquering Hero, the glorious Victor. But He wasn’t – not yet.
And like Jocelyn, I was awestruck as I realized, He loves me!
Prayer: Lord Jesus, our Bridegroom, You laid down your life for Your bride. We love You, and we want to love You more – more than the world, more than other people’s opinions, more than our very lives. Help us to be willing to look like losers, if that’s what it takes to follow You, to be identified with You. In Your precious name, Amen.