I’m currently working through a devotional series on love. It has been a powerful thought exercise into why there are so many broken relationships in our world, and I’ve been left contemplating how I can love better. Not only God, but also my family, friends, co-workers and myself.
One of the devotions from this week was based on the following passage from first John:
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 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? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
1 John 3:16-18 (ESV)
In the very next chapter of this book, we are reminded that ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:8). But we know from the verses above and many other places in the Bible that God’s love is not simply a feeling He has towards us, or words He speaks over us (though these are also true). Instead, we know the reality of God’s love, through His sacrificial actions for us. God, in His infinite wisdom and understanding, knew that for His broken people, just thinking of love or saying the words wasn’t enough, that we also needed to see love displayed.
Every time I am reminded of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, I recalibrate myself as to how I respond to things. If Jesus laid down his life for us in love, I can certainly reframe a frustrating situation with a friend or a load of washing that my husband didn’t get to. We have been given the gift of new life in Jesus, and the opportunity to choose to live differently, mirroring a portion of the love God has for us, to one another.
Love can be hard to quantify and define, but you can definitely feel when it is displayed to you. I want to encourage you, no matter the situation, to choose to act in Christian love towards others and yourself. Exercise restraint when you need to, and think deeply about the consequences of your actions towards others before acting. I hope you can be encouraged to love through actions this week as I have been.
Steph van der Merwe
Operations and ECS Officer