1 John 3:16-24
Words are meant to communicate, but sometimes words can be used as a screen to hide behind. We can try to hide our real feelings or thoughts behind the words we use. We can even fool ourselves into thinking that we have accomplished something just because we’ve said it. We may say in words that we accept Jesus as our Saviour and Lord but not really entrust ourselves to him and to his way of life. We can fool ourselves into substituting statements of faith for living by faith in God. That’s why John (1 John 3:18) says, “Let us love, not in words or speech, but in truth and action.” James says, “Be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.” Let’s not be content with saying that we love God and love our neighbours, let’s live it. Love is not just a feeling or a sentiment. Love is a relationship in which one is prepared to make sacrifices and go out of the way to help, enrich or encourage the other. Of course, the word love in English has come to carry many different meanings or nuances, but the love that God has for us and which we are called to exhibit in our relationships with God and with other people is always self-giving and other-enhancing. The Good Shepherd who lay down his life for his sheep breathes his Spirit into them that they may live not just for themselves but for others. It’s great to luxuriate in the love of God, but if the Spirit of God is within us we will not be content with being recipients of that love, but we will act with the same kind of generous love in our everyday lives. We do need to talk about love, both God’s love for us and our love for others, but let’s not be tricked into thinking that talking about it is enough. The only reason for talking about it is to lead us into living it in truth and in action.
- Give examples of ways in which people hide their real feelings or thoughts behind the words that they use.
- What is the difference between saying that we believe in Jesus as Saviour and Lord, and living by faith in Jesus as our Saviour and Lord?
- What does loving in truth and action mean for you in your life at present?
- How can the church best express its love in truth and action?