(The following is the November 21 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read 1 John 2 and pay close attention to verses 3-11.)
How do you know when someone loves you? Being told “I love you” is an encouraging sign, but what if that same person fails to treat you lovingly? What if he does things he knows you hate or find offensive? What if the person never does anything you ask? We reasonably question claims of love that aren’t backed up by actions.
John discusses this in 1 John 2:3-6: “This is how we know that we know him: if we keep his commands. The one who says, ‘I have come to know him,’ and yet doesn’t keep his commands, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps his word, truly in him the love of God is made complete. This is how we know we are in him: The one who says he remains in him should walk just as he walked.”
Think of people who have loved you well. How have they shown their love? In addition to words, perhaps it was through kind acts, giving, being present with you, and helping you in any way they could. Maybe they encouraged, listened, and were always a faithful presence in challenging times. There are countless ways we experience love from others. The point is that love is shown – not just spoken.
And so it must be with our love for God. If we are saved by grace, understand our forgiveness through Christ, and receive his gift of eternal life, how can we not respond with a life filled with gratitude and love? Genuine love never stops at mere words, whether it’s love for God or other people. We want to demonstrate it however we can, privately and publicly, wherever we are, using whatever means are available.
God demonstrated his love for us sacrificially through Jesus’ death on the cross. May our lives give evidence of love for him daily.
How has God shown you his love? How do you show your love for him? Can you love him better? How can you love other people better?