Ezekiel 46-47 1 John 3
“This is how we know what real love is: Jesus gave his life for us. So we should give our lives for our brothers and sisters. Suppose someone has enough to live and sees a brother or sister in need, but does not help. Then God’s love is not living in that person. My children, we should love people not only with words and talk, but by our actions and true caring.” (1 John 3:16-18 NCV)
John began this chapter teaching about the relationship between Christians and sin. He made it clear that if you are a Christian, you won’t continue in sin. There’s forgiveness available when we sin, but a lifestyle that’s in contradiction to God’s standards is a sign that a person isn’t in fellowship with God. He reminded us that love was shown in sacrifice. Jesus died for us. Then, he pointed out that if we’re truly in fellowship with God, we’ll sacrifice for our brothers and sisters in Christ. If we’re not willing to do that, then we don’t have God’s love in us. Love must be expressed with actions, not just declarations.
Most followers of Christ would agree on a number of sins that Christians shouldn’t commit and be called Christians. John didn’t bring those sins up. The example he used was one that touches the heart of everyone who follows Jesus: caring for people in need. It’s one thing to say that people in need should be cared for; it’s a different thing to add, “and I need to do the caring.” We’re called on to meet the needs of brothers and sisters in Christ. We do a decent job of it at Christmas. We give to food banks, we drop money in the kettle, we buy for a name we picked off the angel tree. Those needs exist all year long, though, and if we only give of our material possessions at Christmas, the hurt continues the rest of the year. We need to be finding ways to meet the needs of people in poverty all year long. Take the generous spirit we feel at Christmas and express God’s love by sharing and helping meet needs all year long.
Lord, there are so many hurting people in this world. Open my eyes to the needs and open my heart to give. Help me to find ways to minister to people in need.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.