March 28th Devotion

Love in Action
By Laura Bailey 

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” - 1 John 3:18

Have you ever heard the phrase, “talk is cheap?” This term implies that it’s easy to say you will do something but much more challenging to follow through. I often think about this when living out our Christian faith. It’s easy to say that we are committed to regularly attending church, but a closer look at the calendar says that Sunday mornings are negotiable.

We quickly tell someone to call us if they need anything, but when the phone rings, we give excuses and claim we are too busy. We share with our friends that they should forgive and move on, but we continue to hold a grudge and resentment towards those who offend us. Unfortunately, many of us fall short when putting our faith into action, or as our key verse encourages us to love not only with words or speech but with actions and truth (1 John 3:18).

In the last half of 1 John chapter 3, we see the difference between love and hate. John urges believers to recall the message we have heard from the beginning of time,” to love one another (1 John: 3:11). John then shares the standard of Christian love– Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross, but are we willing to do what the scriptures say and lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters? (1 John 3:12). It is not enough to feel love or sympathy for those who need help; we should act on their behalf. The heart of the gospel is love, which stems from self-sacrifice and generosity.

While John implies that we should be ready to lay down our physical life for others, the implication is that we would develop a sensitivity to the needs of those around us. 1 John 3:17 admonished those who have to share with others; Christians are marked by their practical love that delights in helping others. They act out of a sincere heart and motivation to care for what the Bible coins “the least of these ( Matthew 25:40).”

Numerous times Scripture shares that a mark of a true believer is the spiritual fruit that is produced in their lives. John is calling attention to the fact that as Christ's followers, we will not simply say we love people; how we live our lives will be a walking testimony of God’s love. Those who are born again don’t live by the “do as I say, not as I do” mantra; instead, they invite others to “imitate me as I imitate Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).

There will be times when platitudes, words of encouragement, or a simple “I am praying for you” are appropriate. But let’s just not give lip service, follow up with a warm meal, or financial gesture, or perhaps the situation may call for the sacrifice of our time, choosing to sit and listen. In a world where busyness is worn like a badge of honor, think of the eternal impact you might have by simply choosing to be present with someone during a time of need.

I have often chosen to speak love over showing love because it’s the easiest thing to do. When I am tempted to let a few words check the box for showing Christ's love, I am reminded of John 15:12-13. My command is: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (NIV).

God didn’t just say He loved the world; He gave His one and only son so that whoever believed in Him could have eternal life (John 3:16). God's sacrifice of His Son is unfathomable to me as a parent, but He willingly gave Him up so that we might live. As we remember God's love and Jesus' sacrifice for us, may our words be followed up by actions that prove our love.

Intersecting Faith and Life:
Think about your life. Do you show love just with speech, or do you also provide love in action? Next time an opportunity presents itself to help someone in need, push yourself to speak and show love.
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