May 15, 2020

I John 3:16-18

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.


These verses are very similar to Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

While Paul, in Romans, continues describing the eternal implications of Jesus’s death and resurrection, John takes a different, more practical turn. Jesus laid down his life for you; you should lay down your life for others. How do you do that? Give to those in need.

Short and to the point, John effectively illustrates how we can confirm the spiritual transformation Paul speaks about. It begins with observation—see those around you. Next, allow yourself to be moved by their need. Finally, turn the feeling into action. Meet their need. John’s assertion on this simple process is that if you don’t do it, God’s love isn’t in you. I don’t know about you, but it isn’t hard for me to think of the last time I had the opportunity to help someone and didn’t do it. More alarming is the thought that I might not even be seeing the needs around me.

How about you? Which of these three steps do you feel competent in? Which ones do you need to improve? Perhaps you always meet the needs you see, but they are few and far between. That would indicate that you aren’t very good at seeing. Maybe you see needs but for some reason feel unmoved by them. Or maybe you feel and see, but can’t bring yourself to step out of your comfort zone to help. Whichever it is, today ask God to give you the ability to make one small improvement in the process of loving others.

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