1 John 3:17-18
But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
It’s easy to say things without meaning them. It’s easier to say something than to do something. So often the saying is true that talk is cheap. It costs us nothing at all. But when there is substance behind what we say, when there is action behind our words, that’s what can make a difference in a heart and a life. That’s what proves that our love is real and flowing from the source of the Holy Spirit inside of us and not some manufactured lip service.
How does the world around us know that we have God’s love dwelling within us if it never shows itself? If we act just like the world? If we don’t have compassion on others, give selflessly, meet needs, serve faithfully? How do we know within ourselves that it’s genuine if it doesn’t manifest itself in some way in our lives, if it doesn’t bear any fruit? How are we obeying the commands of Christ if we turn away from those who have needs and refuse to share what we have when Jesus spent His life on others and asks us to do the same?
Love is not having the resources to meet a need and then walking on by and looking the other way, though that may be what we are naturally inclined to do. The love of God is not stingy or selfish, but gives generously and even sacrificially. The love of God refuses to hold back. The love of God does more than is expected. So let’s stop clinging so much to what we view as ours and start thinking about others more than ourselves. If God didn’t hold back in giving us His Son, how can we deny anything to someone in need?
Words can be so flimsy and can be cast about without ever accomplishing anything. There should be substance behind our words. Our actions should prove what we say by showing our love in an active, real, tangible way. Let’s be imitators of our Lord by showing compassion to those around, by demonstrating our love for them, giving with gracious and generous hearts to those who have a need. Let’s stop just saying that we love God and love others, but show it, as well.