“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:18 NKJV)
“Love” is a dangerous word. When applied correctly, beautiful things happen. When people use that word to manipulate others, though, there can be devastating results. Or, it can be used as mere lip service without anything to show for the word. I think that’s why John reminded us that love, God’s love, results in good deeds and in truth. He gives the example of seeing someone in need. If you have the ability to help meet that need, and you don’t help, how can the love of God abide in you? The other major example he gave was that of laying down your life for another. If Jesus gave up His life for us, we should be willing to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters in Christ. If we love God, we’ll love His children. If we love His children, we’ll do whatever it takes to provide for their needs and grow in Christ. That’s Christian love.
Christian love isn’t manipulative. We don’t tell people that we love them in order to get something from them. Christian love expresses itself in action. For instance, if I tell my wife, “I love you,” hoping that she’ll fix dinner for me, that’s manipulation. If I tell my wife, “I love you,” as I hand her the dinner plate, that’s love showing itself in deeds. If we look at all God’s given us and tell Him we love Him, but then don’t use what He’s given us to care for those in need, that’s loving in word, but not in deed. God doesn’t fill our coffers just to bless us, He fills our coffers so that we can get blessed as we use His wealth to care for those in need – especially those of the household of faith. It doesn’t matter if you have a few loaves and fishes or the money to build skyscrapers – if we’re truly in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, you’ll be helping others.
Lord, help me to love others as You love. Never let me hold back when I can help people see Your love as I help to meet physical needs.