DATE WRITTEN: Tuesday, 2020-11-17
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS
BIBLE REFERENCE: 1 John 3:16-18
TRANSLATION: Contemporary English Version (CEV)
BIBLE TEXT: 16 We know what love is because Jesus gave his life for us. That’s why we must give our lives for each other. 17 If we have all we need and see one of our own people in need, we must have pity on that person, or else we cannot say we love God. 18 Children, you show love for others by truly helping them, and not merely by talking about it.
OBSERVATION: For my readers who are happily married, as I am, we might hear the words occasionally ‘well, show me that you love me by….’! As adult children, we might also hear a parent say that if we truly love them we would….! As a Christian, we are examined by the world, as if through a glass door, for others want to place our love for one another under a microscope and decide if we are truly a Christian. Meditate with me as we examine how John tries to clarify this principle and show us how we might pass the examination.
APPLICATION: Try to imagine how, as a teenager, you tried to evaluate whether a guy, or girl, may have loved you and/or was serious about you. I’m sure that you also would probably have looked for the ways that they showed love to you, especially through every little action they took! This powerful word ‘love’, is something examined by everyone at one time or another in our lives, and often our evaluation will result in more love from us, or perhaps less love, if we feel like the other person is trying to distance themselves from us. But this powerful word, that has far-reaching effects, began as the primary focus of who God is. He created us, knowing that with a mind of our own, we would sometimes practice love for Him and each other, while at other times display dislike towards each other. Throughout the Bible, God demonstrated His love for us, and showed us which things bring pleasure to Him and which things truly upset Him. In spite of all that I have shared already, I believe that God knew that mankind would naturally tend to think selfishly and only try to please his fellow man for his own benefit. God knew that seeking to show love to those in need, and towards our Creator, might fall way to the bottom of our priority list. But God was determined to give mankind a means of turning from his sin, surrender himself to the Almighty, and eventually follow God’s plan for his life. So God allowed His righteous, and only Son to be born. He also allowed that Son to die on a cruel cross so that through His death and resurrection, eternal life might become possible to all who would surrender to Him. This demonstration of love was extended in spite of mankind showing nothing but hate towards the God who created us. In John’s reflection on this awesome sacrificial love, he said that we too must be willing to follow God’s example by loving even those who despite fully use us, or despise us. In fact, we should love them enough that we would also be willing to arrive at a point of sacrificing our lives for their good – their benefit, if necessary. John felt like this might evidence the love that should reside deep inside our heart for a fellow Christian. In my working career, I was evaluated each year on how I was doing compared to expectations. If God was to evaluate you at this time, on your level of love for His sons and daughters, do you suppose He might find any exceptions for you to work on? John said that talking about love is not enough, we must show love for others whether we feel they deserve it, or not.
PRAYER: Oh Lord God, You defined the word ‘love’ by showing us first hand how we should love one another. You demonstrated love perfectly for us, yet we try to add so many conditions to it. I pray that You might once again touch the heart of each reader so that the love You placed in us through creation, may be stirred up and resurrected to a new level. May others recognize You by the love they see demonstrated in us. May we rid ourselves of selfish desires and instead look for ways to love those around us, whether we think they deserve it or not. In 1 Corinthians 13 we are taught that love never fails. Because the King of love resides inside of us, I pray that our love for others will always be evident. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while you be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!