Loving in Deed and Truth
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
– 1 John 3:16-18
God perfectly demonstrated his love for us in the person of Jesus Christ. Now, John will say that love is not just about receiving but about giving. We receive this perfect gift of the Father, and we are transformed from the inside out. Transformation begins with our relationship to the Lord; it is vertical in nature. As we commune with the Lord, as we receive his love and grace, we naturally become more like him. Our insides are changed.
That vertical relationship to the triune God then transforms our actions. As we love God, we will naturally then love God’s children. Part of loving others is serving others. Jesus taught his disciples about this kind of love: “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”
(Mark 10:45). The disciples were called to follow this example of Jesus and to serve others as they had been served by Jesus.
All God’s children are called to follow this example of Jesus – to willingly serve one another. The Apostle John wrote that we are to lay down our lives for one another (verse 16). While we likely will not be called to die on behalf of another, we will have to die to ourselves – to our comfort, pride, and desires. The Good Samaritan is an example of this kind of sacrifice. When the Good Samaritan found a man lying injured by the side of the road, he stopped. He sacrificially gave us his time, his energy, and his resources to help this man.
John would say that abiding in the love of God is what transforms a person. Abiding leads to a life of love, grace, and sacrifice on behalf of other people. The presence and work of God is manifested in those who abide, demonstrating that they truly are the sons and daughters of God. Reflection:
How are you doing with abiding in the love of God, and how is that love demonstrated in your life?
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