The Demonstration of Love

Hereby  perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.  I John 3:16-18

How do we show the love of God? Is it enough to simply go around saying, “God loves you and so do I”? Just as faith without works is dead, so love that is not shown is vain also.

 The first step in demonstrating love is having a full understanding of the love of God to begin with. We must observe and experience the love of God in our own life, and then focus upon that love as the benchmark for how we are to love others.

We are then to mimic that love in our relationship with the brethren. This is my commandment, that ye love one another as Ihave loved you. Our life should become one of service and sacrifice as we minister to the needs of others. I believe it was George Mueller who said, “Love is not measured in how much you give, but in how little you keep back for yourself.”

Love is not demonstrated as much in word as it is in deed. True love is compassionate toward the needs of others. It has no agenda and is given with no strings attached.

In short, we are to love the brethren according to the model of I Corinthians 13. Anything less is not loving one another as Christ has loved us.

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5 responses to “The Demonstration of Love

  1. Tim A. Blankenship

    Gordon,
    These articles in 1 John are great. That was a great word about having murder in the heart in the previous article.
    Thanks again for your comment at Fire and Hammer.

  2. But how far are we willing to go to show love for a fellow believer? If I am reading this passage correctly, should we not also be willing to lay down the very life God has given us for a believer, any believer?

    I would readily lay down my life for my wife and kids, but am I ready to do what this verse commands for any Christian? And, would any believer lay down his life for Tony Sisk?

    We cannot answer too quickly and glibly proclaim, “Sure! Of course I would!”

    Tough thoughts to chew on. You always make me think, Gordon. Blessings.

  3. Thanks Matthew and TA.

    Tony, you are right. This is a tough question. I think one conclusion we can draw from this entire epistle is that fellowship with Christ can create the capacity to love as Christ loved us.

    We may not always utilize that full capacity. And there would be many factors involved, such as, why is it necessary to lay down our life, etc.

    I certainly don’t know all the answers and in all honesty, I hope I am never put to this test.

    As we look at that statement in its context, could it perhaps be drawing the parallel that as Jesus withheld nothing from us, so we should esteem our brethren to the degree that we would withhold no possession of ours from them?

    Just thinking out loud. Feel free to pick that thought apart. 🙂

  4. I think that is a fair way to look at that passage. I tend to be a literalist, sometimes to the detriment of the passage so that I miss obvious applications.

    I have been noodling John 15:13-14, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are my friends if you do whatever I command you.” Of course, the greatest demonstration of Christ’s love was that He gave His life for you and me yet neither does He withhold any good thing from us. I think I know and understand that truth.

    The clear application from that passage is death for one’s friend, but am I willing to go that far? Are we oversimplifying the passage so that we risk missing exactly what our Lord means?

    Truthfully, given that we live in America, we will probably never have to lay down our lives for a friend. That passage would take on a whole new meaning to a Sudanese believer.

    Thanks for entertaining my thoughts.

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