New Year’s Ponderings

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

1 John 3:18 (NIV)
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

1 John 3:18 (MSG)
My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love.
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“Little children (believers, dear ones), let us not love [merely in theory] with word or with tongue [giving lip service to compassion], but in action and in truth [in practice and in sincerity, because practical acts of love are more than words].” -AMPLIFIED

Bob Goff, in his book “Love Does”, shares this thought that truly should make us ponder our way of living and doing things. “Love is never stationary. In the end, love doesn’t just keep thinking about it or keep planning for it. Simply put: love does.” -Bob Goff “Love Does”

To put it even more directly, love is an action word. We need to stop spending so much time thinking and planning about how we will demonstrate love and just do it. John the Beloved wrote in his first epistle of our need to not just talk about love, but actually show love. It should actually be a pattern of our life. “My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or a theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love.” -(VOICE)

Yesterday we talked about the importance of letting our lights shine brightly for Jesus. Today, I want to discuss HOW we can actually do that. Talk is one thing, but action is another. We could spend all day long articulating how much we love a person or a people group or even just people in general, but if we do not actually show it all that talk is just that, talk.

The Apostle Paul shared these thoughts about living a life without real, true love, “If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” -1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (MSG)

“But the kind of love that God created and demonstrated is a costly one because it involves sacrifice and presence. It’s a love that operates more like a sign language than being spoken outright.”
― Bob Goff “Love Does”

“Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs or celebrate injustice; but truth—yes, truth—is love’s delight! Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what.” -1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (VOICE)

Love is not just an emotion that we feel; love is something that we demonstrate. To demonstrate something means that there is proof or evidence behind what we are saying. To say that, “I am a Christian”, but not love outwardly would be hypocritical; for to be a Christian is to mean that we are like Christ just by definition.

Jesus was not afraid to set aside Himself to prove His love for mankind. Consider the Apostle Paul’s words to the Philippians about our need to emulate Christ’s attitude and love. “Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.” -Philippians 2:5-8 (MSG)

Let each of us resolve that in the coming year we will not just talk about love, but we will display, operate in, and bestow love to others. Let us decide now that we will emulate Christ more in our lives by loving through action.

“Being engaged is a way of doing life, a way of living and loving. It’s about going to extremes and expressing the bright hope that life offers us, a hope that makes us brave and expels darkness with light. That’s what I want my life to be all about – full of abandon, whimsy, and in love.”
― Bob Goff “Love Does”

My Prayer:
Lord Jesus, in this coming year I want to be a demonstration of your love to others. I want others to see you through the love that flows out of me from you. Let my life be love in action. Remove any fear, reservations or doubt I may have and instead let me live my life “OUT LOUD” for you. Let me be that living sacrifice that you have called me to be and let me love to the extreme; for your glory, Lord, not mine. Be magnified in my life, Lord. You must increase and I must decrease. Let my life be the proof of your love, dear Lord.

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