My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves. 1 John 3:18-20 (MSG)
If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.
We Know Love Because of Jesus
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?
Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.
Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him. 1 John 3:14-21 (NLT)
Words Are Meaningless Without Action
Words are cheap. Feelings are fickle.
Perhaps you’ve been the one who said you’d do something and then when the time came realized the commitment was too big. Maybe it was just easy to say the words at the moment and you didn’t have any intention of following through. Perhaps you’ve felt the twitter of love in your heart but when love carried with it responsibility you bolted. Maybe you’ve been on the receiving end of an “I love you” that didn’t materialize into action.
“I love you.” Those words are meaningless without action.
Our Actions Are About God
John explains the believer’s true test is loving other believers. Ugh! I will admit, this is not easy for me. As I say that, I hear the very reason it’s difficult—there are too many personal pronouns in that sentence—I and me.
God wants the believer to understand one thing. Your acts of love aren’t about you.
What is the motivation to withhold love—fear. Fear that in the act of giving up something or putting others ahead of yourself, you will miss out. You will be left wanting.
Our Culture is Filled With Fear
The American culture is filled with fear. I will go so far to say, fear is THE driving force of this culture.
- What will happen if I’m not successful in my business or career?
- What if my kids aren’t at the top of the class…
- How will I spend my “Golden Years” if I don’t work my fingers to the bone today?
- What will happen if candidate X is elected to office?
If those things don’t concern you consider these:
- Will I be accepted if I’m not wearing the “right” clothes, driving the “right” car, living in the “right” neighborhood?
- How can I ever be skinny enough, ripped enough, handsome or pretty enough when I look at the examples in the magazines and then see my reflection in the mirror?
- How can my teeth be whiter, the armpits more flowery or my skin more porcelain-like?
- What if I run out of money?
Fear is the Enemy of Love
Fear is the enemy of love. Fear is the enemy of your relationship with God. Fear will stop you from loving those around you. Fear will stop you from coming boldly to God, your loving heavenly Father.
The first step in loving others is having an understanding of your relationship with the Author of love. God is greater than your worried heart. When you were unlovable, when you were shaking your puny fist at God, when you only wanted your own way, God sent His Son to die, because He loves you.
Love is action.
Love opens the hearts and hands of those who experience it.
Father, open my heart and hands today to love others the way You love me. I will replace Your love for my fear trusting in Your perfect love for me.