Verse: I John 3:18-24
by Brian Phillips
In this passage, John (son of Zebedee, one of the three disciples who were Jesus’ closest friends), wrote a letter to be circulated among and read by all Christians. In it he makes these seemingly unrelated points: Love with your actions, not just your words; trust in the Truth when your heart is wrongly convicting you; if we obey His commands, and do what pleases Him, we won’t be deceived by our hearts (and God will, in turn, answer our prayers); we must believe in the name of Jesus, and love one another; and, when we obey God, Jesus comes to live in us—which we know because the Spirit is in us.
Do you follow his logic? Let me restate the above, slightly paraphrased, and re-ordered a tad bit: Sometimes the devil tries to overwhelm us with guilt, and our hearts wrongly convict us about something. When that happens, we should go to God’s Word (the Truth). By obeying His Word (believing in Jesus and loving one another), we receive the peace that is “more wonderful than the human mind can understand.” We love one another by demonstrating it with our actions, not just our words. And, finally, if we love others through our actions, then we know Jesus lives in us (Because, from the day we are born, we are all too selfish to truly love—that is, with the unconditional love the Bible speaks of. The only way we could possibly love one another with that kind of love is if the Spirit is in us.).
Food for Thought
This may seem really sick to you, but I used all my electives in college to take math courses, even though I didn’t need them for my major (I got booed by Engineering students in a Differential Equations class one day when the professor asked why I was taking the class, and I said, “Because I love math!”).
Maybe the reason I like math is that it’s so black and white. I like the fact that the only answer to 2+2 is 4.
Similarly, God can be very black and white. Especially on the subject of love. Read Mark 12:28-31 and you’ll discover how love ranks in importance according to Jesus. There is only one way to interpret this verse, just as there is only one way to answer the question, “What is two plus two?” “What is the greatest commandment?” Jesus said love God, and love others.
So What Now?
How many times have you heard the cliché, “Actions speak louder than words?” Do you agree? Do you apply it to your life? How are you showing your love for God? With lip service?
Real love takes action. If you truly love someone, you spend time with them. Get to know them. Talk to them.
God desires the same thing. He wants you to spend time with Him. Get to know Him. Talk to Him. And He wants you to love others the same.
Don’t just tell someone you love them this week. Show it! Whether that person is another human being, or God!