1 John 3:18, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
How do you express love to others? Do you tell them, or do you show them? As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words, precisely what this verse explains. Your actions and how you show people you love and care about them express a lot more than the words you say. Showing someone you love them may mean sacrificing your time to be with them. It may mean helping them out with something or going somewhere to support them. Showing others we love them is so important because it helps us build a relationship with them. I know I feel loved when my family and friends come to events that I am performing or speaking at or when I am having a bad day, and they come to hang out with me.
After saying that if anyone sees his brother in need and does not help him, he does not have love, John broadens the point to say that love is an action. We cannot just say, “I love you,” without showing it. It is meaningless. That said, we are saved by grace and not by works. We don’t serve those in need to be saved, but rather, because we are saved. “Actions and truth” go hand in hand. What we believe is shown by what we do.
A true test of whether we are abiding in Christ will be our compassion for the poor and anyone in need. Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 that if someone doesn’t work, they should not eat. Of course, there are nuances because there is a way to help others that is toxic and will cause the harm of enabling and dependency. But the reality is that there are many genuine needs that Christ would have us meet out of love for him. Jesus sees it as serving him when we serve and help others (Mt 25:40).
If you have not been as generous as you think you should have been, or you know that you have missed opportunities to show love with actions and truth, it is never too late to repent and start loving. Ask Jesus to help you, and He will show you where to start.
Heavenly Father, thank You that I am Your child and that Christ died to pay the price for my sin. Thank You that He rose again so that I have been made a new creation in Christ – and received my new life in Him. May the love of the Lord Jesus so flood and fill my being that it not only flows out to others in thought and word but in spirit, in truth – and my every action and attitude. This I ask in Jesus’ name. AMEN.