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. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:16-18 (NIV)
Do you know what love is? Have I adequately demonstrated what love looks like? Have I given you an example to follow? I don’t want to be overconfident by saying that I know what love is. Why is that? My understanding of what love looks like is growing but is by no means fully developed. Tell me what you do know. Love cannot be expressed by words alone. Thinking and speaking loving words is very important. A lack of love can certainly be demonstrated by thinking and speaking careless and hurtful words. No amount of loving actions will ever be able to overcome unloving thoughts and words. That is true. So, I want my thoughts and words to be consistently loving, with my actions. That’s good. But thinking that my thoughts and words alone can express love is foolish. In fact, it would be a cop out and illegitimate if my love did not include action. That is also true. You have more than adequately demonstrated what love looks like. How so? You left heaven and came into this world because you love me. You were unwilling to see me live a life without you, both now and forever. Your love was costly. You laid your life down for me. You paid for my sins by dying on the cross for me. You made it so I could be forgiven of my sin and cleansed of all my unrighteousness. You made it so I could live my life with you, both now and forever. Yes, I did all of this for you because I love you. So, now I know what love looks like. Love requires me to lay my life down for others. How will you lay your life down for others? I will give of myself. I will share my time and talent and resources with others. When I see a need, I will not pretend I did not see it. When I see a need, I will not walk away. When I see a need, I will give of what is required of me. What will be required of you? Sometimes meeting a need will require my time. Sometimes meeting a need will require my talent. Sometimes meeting a need will require my resources, and to be clear, by that I mean my material possessions including money. All I am and have will need to be available to others, if I am to be able to love like you loved, and give like you gave, and served like you served. Yes, I will lay down my life for others. I will follow your example. That will be very good.
Lord, thank you for laying your life down for me. You have given me an example to follow. Help me to lay my life down for others. Help me to love like you loved and give like you gave. Help me to serve like you served. I will share what I have with others. Amen
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