We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. 1 John 3:16-18 NLT
Love is the defining characteristic of those who claim they have experienced the love of God. Once we pass from death to life, we will demonstrate the love of God, “He laid down His life for us.” Jesus died in our place for the forgiveness of sin. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). Christ’s death is not something that we should always remember but should provide us an example of how we should love those who are in the Lord. Hate takes away life but love offers life. We have learned our lesson well from God when we start applying what we have learned in our lives. Jesus laid down His life for us and we respond to His love by manifesting self-sacrificing love. There are numerous ways on how we can manifest our love. John from the text, implicitly addresses how Christians handle their possessions. “If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?” (1 John 3:17). God expects believers to share their material blessings to brothers and sisters who are in need. The love of God that flows through our love will bless those who are in need. Loved then is proven not just by our words but also by our deeds. “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions” (1 John 3:18). To prove the truth of our love for God, it must be demonstrated by our acts. Words can ring hollow but our love is proven genuine when we care for others just like how the Lord Jesus Christ cared for us when He laid down His life for us. The command love the Lord your God can never be separated from the command love your neighbor as yourself. These two go together at all times. The Lord Jesus Christ lived out what He said that He is the truth and the life when He laid down His life for us. Love and truth must go together. When we say with Paul “we will speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15a), we show the truth of our love when we take action in caring and providing for those in need. In this way, we show that the love of God is in us and we are “growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church” (Ephesians 4:15b).