1 John 3:17-18

In 1 John 3:17-18 John takes the discussion of love and makes it personal and actionable.  How then should we live after seeing the ultimate example of love as Jesus and His sacrifice on the Cross set the bar pretty high.  But John gives us some concrete examples to consider. “But if someone who is supposed to be a Christian has money enough to live well, and sees a brother in need, and won’t help him—how can God’s love be within him?” John will not allow us to merely talk about love; real love is demonstrated in actions.  He starts by focusing on an area very near and dear to our hearts – our money and our stuff.

Let’s face it.  All of us that are reading this are blessed well beyond what we need.  We have plenty of money compared to 98% of the rest of the world.  Yet we struggle to hold our money and stuff with an open hand.  After all, it’s ours.  We worked hard to accumulate and earn it so why should we just offer it to help someone?  The why is pretty plain and simple…..because God tells us to.  Here is a test of real love; if we do not divide our bread with the hungry, we certainly would not lay down our life for him. Whatever love we may pretend to have for our fellow man, if we are unwilling to give it away we are merely a liar about love.

Love is an action word.  It’s a verb that requires us to get off the couch and get in the game.  It’s not just words or thoughts or warm fuzzy feelings.  Love demands actions. “Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions.” Merely talking about it cheapens it completely.  If we spend out time talking about meeting people’s needs instead of actually meeting them, we completely miss the meaning of love.  Love requires us to identify needs in our fellow man and then actually do something about it.  We need to get involved, not just watch quietly from the sidelines.

Stott wrote “It is easier to be enthusiastic about Humanity with a capital ‘H’ than it is to love individual men and women, especially those who are uninteresting, exasperating, depraved, or otherwise unattractive. Loving everybody in general may be an excuse for loving nobody in particular.” God wants us to pay attention to the world around us, but more importantly to see the people right under our nose.  We need to look for the opportunities to serve and meet needs in those right in our patch and see those folks as God’s children.  God gives us the chance to be a difference in the lives of those around us.  We need to wake up and do it!  That’s what love is!

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