Love in Word and Deed
by Pastor Dave Mann
What is love? That is not just a philosophical or theoretical question. It is a valid question. In life people use the word “love” a lot, but there are many different definitions and understandings of this word.
It is generally accepted that the Apostle John was the author of the fourth gospel. And in that gospel, the author refers to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” So, when he writes this letter and addresses the topic of love, we would do well to pay close attention. John uses the word “love” 39 times in his gospel, 27 times in his first letter, four times in his short second letter, and three times in his even shorter third letter. Do you think that the reality of Jesus’ love made an impact on John? Of course, it did! Yes, “love” as a noun is reflected in our sentiments, feelings, and emotions. But more importantly, “love” as a verb compels us into action. (2 Corinthians 5:14)
Legend has it that when this apostle was in his elder years, he could barely speak. But the church would regularly ask him to address the gathering of believers. When it was time for the message, John would simply state, “Little children, love one another.”
What did John mean by that simple exhortation? John’s understanding of love leaned heavily on a demonstration through action. Today's passage points to actions as the proof of love. Words and speech are not enough; biblical love compels us to show visible evidence of professed love. Jesus not only spoke words of love, he also put that love into action. In the same way, when the love of Jesus takes root in our hearts, it will inevitably produce not only words, not only a speech, not only a sentiment, but also actions – often self-sacrificial actions – which leave no doubt that Jesus’ Spirit lives in us.
O Spirit of Jesus, I thank you for your true and verifiable love for me. Thank you that you not only spoke words of love, but you also acted in love. The cross is the proof. Holy Spirit of Jesus, take deep root in my heart so that the experience of your love would lead me into actions that demonstrate your love for others. Help me so that I might truly pray and live in Jesus’ name. Amen.