And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him (1 John 3:19).
Let’s say that verse like this: And by expressing love we know that we are of the Word of God, and our hearts will be satisfied as we stand before God in our prayers. There’s no feeling quite as good as a satisfied heart. Knowing I have pleased God gives me far more pleasure than anything else I can think of. The Word of God is all about love: God’s love, our love. God is made out of love, and if we are made in His image, then so are we. To let love shine out of us lights our paths to people who need our love.
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us (Romans 5:5).
It’s the love of God that prompts us to love one another, and He has poured it into us to the point of overflowing.
My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth (1 John 3:18).
Love needs to be demonstrated. If someone keeps telling me they love me, but never show me that love, well, I just don’t believe them. There’s a song in “My Fair Lady” where she sings, “Don’t talk of love . . . Show me!” Apparently God agrees. When He sees us painting the weather worn house of an elderly, widow woman, God sees love. When He sees us paying the electric bill of a single mom who can’t afford it that month, He sees love. When He sees us taking a drug addict to the de-tox center and doing whatever it takes to get him or her enrolled, God sees our love.
A man I know told me, “Next time you go to church, tell God I still love Him.”
I replied, “The next time you go to church, God will know you love Him.”
Love is an action word. Words rolling easily off the tongue do not express love. It is so common to say at the end of a phone conversation in the States, ”love you” that one day my garage mechanic said it to me as he hung up the phone. He called right back to apologize and we laughed, but that just shows how meaningless those words can become. Love must be an action. With family it can be an embrace, kisses, a back rub, with others a smile, an encouraging word, a pat on the back, but with everyone it is a helping hand.
But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him (1 John 3:17)?
No one is saying that we should give what we don’t have. God does not expect us to go into debt for someone else, nor to impoverish our own families to benefit another. But if we see someone who has no shoes and we have two pairs, shouldn’t the extra pair go to the one who has none? I know about stock-piling clothing, having bulging closets, matching shoes, and having coats for certain outfits and occasions, but frankly, clothing is no longer a world-wide issue. I’ve been in destitute areas of Africa and seen the piles of used clothing sent by wealthy nations. We have created and then discarded so much clothing that everyone has something to wear.
Today the issue is money. There is tremendous stockpiling of money. Whatever the brother may need, we know it will cost money. If we shut up our heart and we do not share the excess we have, what does the Word say? The love of God has no place to live in our hearts. Do we really need to stockpile money? Don’t we trust God to be our provider? And doesn’t God use individuals to provide the needs? God may be waiting with a reward in His hand for those who provide financial needs, but if the heart is shut against being the provider in the name of God, the reward goes ungiven. Give your money with joy!
So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).
By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren (1 John 3:16).
Jesus is always our example. He gave up His life for us. There are people who put themselves in harm’s way in order to save us from evil, like the military, the police, and fire fighters, and we are grateful for their sacrifice. However, these people are not specifically offering their lives for us as individuals, as unique people deserving of taking the bullet ourselves. Jesus gave His life to pay for every evil we have ever committed. Even if no one else accepted His sacrifice as payment for sin, He would have suffered, died and been resurrected just for you and me. And now we lay down our lives for our fellow believers. We, like the military, stand up in prayer for them, decreeing the defeat of the enemy in their lives. We, like the policeman, help and protect them in whatever way we can. We, like the fireman, use our faith to oppose the blaze of fiery darts coming against them. These are offerings to God: giving up time and money for our fellow believers, giving up our lives for our brethren. This is called living a life of love.