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.
The outside paint was peeling, the wind whistled through the closed windows and the plaster, nearly 90 years old, was damp to the touch after a hard rain. But we were on top of the world! We had just purchased our first home.
Everything was great, and we were very content, that is until a wise older woman in the Lord gently suggested I be concerned that the old enclosed screen porch was too cold to be our children’s nursery. Indeed it was, but we were living with no margin. I shall never forget her many kindnesses to us, beginning with the beautiful, soft, heavy flannel duvet covers she surprised us with to keep my children warm. She even gave me one too! That moment is etched into my consciousness so deeply that I can still feel the softness of those comforters in my mind’s eye, although it happened well over twenty years ago.
This woman and her husband continued to love my family and me with actions and in truth. It began with a season of sacrificial love during which her husband drove 30 minutes to our home, once a week, in the early morning, before going to his job 40 minutes in the opposite direction. He did this so he could disciple my husband, with the hope that God would draw my husband to Him, and he would claim Him as Savior…and my husband did!
Friends, in 1 John 3:16, God gives us His truth, a truth that invites and empowers each Christ follower. He loves us so much that He lays out the details of the mystery of salvation in this verse, and tells us what it means to truly be lovers of Christ. So, what does it mean? To truly be lovers of Christ means to love one another in a sacrificial way, a way that stems from love and humility.
Humility is not popular. As this world tells us we need to be more and be proud, Jesus tells us, in order to be like Him, we must be less so that He can be more in us. The closer our identity is to Christ, the more we are conformed to His image, the less of ourselves we become as we pour ourselves into others.
Have you ever heard the popular expression, “People won’t remember the words you say, but they will always remember how you made them feel”? I believe that 1 John 3:16-18 is the basis for this truth. As we grow closer to Christ, the things of this world grow dim, and the joy of having and loving lies in giving to others.
Who do you know that struggles? What do you have among your worldly possessions that you can share to show the character of Christ? What are your gifts of self that can be invested in another? Christ compels us to love, for it is by our love they will know we are His.