Christian Devotional by Pastor Cecil Thompson
1 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. 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.”
Yesterday I shared how we can prevent our joy being taken away from us. Joy is a choice that we make, based upon the Word of God and with the Holy Spirit enabling us to live above the pains and trials of life. Whoops! I said that wrong, and that is the problem that we all too often encounter. We want to be above the circumstances, but the Lord tells us to go through the circumstances with rejoicing. That is the difference that matters!
Today, let’s take a look at love. It is a topic that many talk about, but it is a concept that is often very superficial and surface. What is God’s view of love, and what does He teach us about love? Love is not an option—it is a command!
The last sentence in today’s verses, says we are NOT to love with “words or tongue.” Does that shock you? Does that mean we do not enjoy hearing those three special words that make us feel complete: “I love you!” What about those special cards with hearts and flowers, and a scribbled “I love you!” note at the bottom? You mean that is not love?!!! What am I going to do? How can I share my love for my beloved without words?
I hope you see where this is leading. It is actions that count. LOVE IS NOT A DEFINITION, IT IS AN ACTION!
I once heard about a couple who went to see a counselor about the problems in their marriage. The wife complained that he never told her he loved her. The husband interrupted and said; “I told that woman 40 years ago I loved her. I haven’t taken my words back, so it’s still in effect!” Right! That silly illustration demonstrated that his actions revealed a callous indifference and not love.
Today’s Scripture teaches that love without action is not love at all. John uses Christ as the great example of love. His love was demonstrated by His sacrificial death on the cross. He died, not for His sins, but for my sins — and your sins. His sacrificial love was so great that words cannot express it. It is “better felt than telt.” Bad grammar but good theology!
John urges us to lay down our life for our brothers, and our sisters, and even our enemies. This is a wordless, speechless love that transmits volumes. It is pure love when we die to our own desires and needs, to give to others. To say I love you and then give nothing of yourself, is not just an empty comment, it is deception and is meaningless.
In the 21st chapter of John’s Gospel, he relates the third incident where Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection and before His ascension into heaven. They had been fishing with no luck, until He told them how to fish. (Go read it for yourself). He greeted them with a warm fire, bread and baked fish.
Remember that Peter had denied Jesus three times on the night He was crucified. Now Jesus speaks to Peter with three questions: “Simon, son of Jonas, do you love Me?” Peter responded half-heartedly to the first two questions, before giving a totally committed response of love. In each case, Jesus told him to: feed My lambs, take care of My sheep, and feed My sheep. Notice that Peter’s expressions of love were not enough. He was required to demonstrate his love by the giving of himself.
We will show our love by giving ourself away. When you give someone something, they cannot steal it from you–you have given it to them. We must love when it is not easy to love. When we love the very ones who have hurt us, we are giving love and we keep that love.
Corey Ten Boom, tells of meeting one of the Nazi prison guards who had served in the dreaded prison camp where she spent many years during WWII. She at first was filled with bitterness, but by giving him her love and forgiveness, she kept her love.
I know this sounds crazy, but the walk with the Son of God, who is our personal Savior, is not to be explained in human reasoning. We become citizens of a new kingdom. We are able to endure all of the weapons the enemy hurls against us, and respond in love and joy! JESUS WINS!
Blessings dear hearts. Walk with God today. Trust Him completely and be a blessing.
— Pastor Cecil
Insights on John – Chuck Swindoll
Hardcover Book: $20.84 (last checked)
Insights on John is part of the 15-volume Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary series. This newly revised and expanded edition draws on Gold Medallion Award–winner Chuck Swindoll’s 50 years of experience with studying and preaching God’s Word. His deep insight, signature easygoing style, and humor bring a warmth and practical accessibility not often found in commentaries.