“By tHis we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”
1 John 3:16-18
Our culture loves personality tests. From taking the Myers Briggs to figure out aspects of our personality to looking to the Five Love Languages to teach us how we give and receive love, we are constantly trying to figure out who exactly we are and what our different characteristics mean. The beauty of being children of God together is that we all share the same attributes that God has instilled in our hearts. We know love because He has shown us love. Therefore, love isn’t just a personality trait, it’s a piece of our soul. Yet with His love, God made us each unique. There is no one that is exactly like you or I, no one that loves the way that you do, or who has the same dreams that are deep down in your heart.
John illustrates God’s love throughout the book, and teaches us that the Father’s language of love is obedience. Obedience is love through action, and it is exemplified through generosity. It’s the generosity of our Father that becomes the overflow of our lives. He continues to fill us up daily so that we may share it with others, and He teaches us to be good stewards of all that He has entrusted us with. We are called to give and to be a blessing, to pour out to others. We are taught to look at the world through a lens of love, and helping those in need becomes an integral piece of how we live our lives and how we love others.
This new lens of love isn't shy or timid; it requires us to take action. When we have the relentless love of our Father, something stirs inside of us, bringing out a fresh wave of love that people haven’t encountered before. This kind of love goes out into the world and changes it. It isn’t just by word or talk, as John says, but it is by the actions that we take and the deeds that come alongside the true love we have. This love is kind yet ambitious, simple yet radical, and it is the love that He has given to us that we may give it out to others and be a beacon of hope to those in need. Let our love language of obedience bring about a love to those in need in this city. Let us understand that in this advent season the greatest gift we can give to others is the love that God has given us.