Verse: 1 John 3:16-18
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

“I love you.” Such powerful words. I can remember the first time I said those words to Mandy. As a parent, I’ve tried to make it a point to say these words often. Even as the kids have gotten older. I want them to know it, deep down inside, that they are loved.

But in the end, these words on their own, are pretty meaningless.

Jesus knew that we, as well as Haddaway, would genuinely wonder, “What is love?” So, he decided to teach us. And you know what is interesting? He didn’t use words. Notice John says “this is how we know what love is” and then he doesn’t say “Jesus told us love is ________.” No, rather than tell us, Jesus showed us what love is. By laying his life down.

John continues this thought by exhorting us to not love just with our words, but also with our actions (yet another predecessor to a song: “More than Words” by Extreme). Is love that is not shown in action, love at all? Is love that does not result in self-sacrificial treatment of others really love?

Today as we read this passage, and allow the Word of God to speak to us and shape us, let’s think through our relationships in our life. Have we gotten lazy in any of our relationships? Have we relied too heavily on the words “I love you”, but honestly dropped the ball onĀ showing love?

Are we loving our neighbors? Are we loving those less fortunate than us? Are we loving people in our church? See what I did there? It’s easy to just think about your friends and family, and that’s good! But John is asking us to live a life of love towards more than the people we are close to. As you think through your life, don’t stop at family and friends, allow God to speak to you about how you treat othersĀ in general too.

How does that challenge you this morning? Ask the Holy Spirit to maybe even drop a name of someone in your life that you could show love to, and make a plan to go do it!

Thank you for loving me with more than just your words. Help me to learn to love others in the same way.

Author: Christian Dunn