“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (ESV)
Such a well-known verse, huh? Did you learn it as a child, like I did? Like my children are?
Or maybe you’re new with your faith and this is a verse you have yet to learn. That’s okay, let me introduce you to it!
“but God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (ESV)
Have you heard that one before?
Here’s one more:
“Let all you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14 (ESV)
There are many scripture verses I could share about love…these are just a few. Do you see a common thread among them?
I’ll give you a hint…it has to do with the verbs.
Okay, not everyone wants an english lesson but I have to point them out.
“gave”, “shows”, “do”
What is He telling us? Any guesses?
He’s telling us that love is an action.
I know we talk about being in love, speaking words of love to each other, telling those important to us how much we love them. But God doesn’t only want us using our words to show our love…he’s wants us to act on it.
God gave His only Son…to show just how much he loves each one of us.
God shows His love for us…by sending His Son to die on a cross, so we don’t have to endure that horrifying agony.
God tells us that all we do…should be done in love.
We need to follow His example, as hard as it may be at times. We’ve all heard (and probably said) “Actions speak louder than words.” Are loving words important? Of course. Should we still say them? Absolutely. But let’s not forget to show others our love.
I’m guilty of it….maybe someone reading this is, too. Sometimes I can say it, but my actions don’t match it. I’m not proud of that. I want to make excuses for it, but it’s the truth. Something I personally need to work on.
However, I can’t do it alone. I can’t rely on my own strength to show love to those I might struggle with.
Thankfully God’s love isn’t based on emotions, like mine can be at times. When anger or frustration or (heaven forbid) pride rears their ugly heads, it’s hard to show love. That’s when I need God to speak through me…move through me. I need to surrender those feelings to Him and allow Him to take over.
His love is unconditional and I need mine to be, too. Even when it’s hard…and the pain is all too real.
Like when you’re hurt by a friend’s words. Or you get into an argument with a spouse…over and over and over again. Or a family member has hurt you in a way you never thought family could. Or your support system wains and all but disappears. Or nasty words are spoken in the heat of the moment…words that replay in your head. Or when…
Can you finish that last one on your own? Do you have specific hurts that make it hard for you to show love towards someone? Bitterness, resentment, anger, or that nasty word I used before…pride?
Oh, there’s so much that can tear us all apart. If we let it.
Did you get that? If we let it.
Can you join with me and fight that urge? We can work to overcome the negative emotions, or maybe just acknowledge them but then release them…so we can open ourselves up to love again?
I know I can’t do it alone…without God. I don’t think any of us can.
So, let’s do it together…and give each other grace as we try to obey God’s words spoken in this final verse.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law? And He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” Matthew 22:36-39 (ESV)
A few questions to ponder….
What does “loving in action” look like in your life? Is there someone you can show love to today? Is there a new way you can show love towards others? Is there anything standing in your way that you need to surrender?
Spend some time asking God for direction and answers to those questions. Listen for His whisper…and follow His lead. It will be worth it!