By Lutic Mosoane.
You can make a lot of claims with your mouth, but when you make any claim at all, you have to back it up with your actions. That’s something that we all understand.
As Christians we often claim to love one another, and say our church is our family, but does it show in our actions? We often claim to love other people, but do we really love one another or are we just running our mouths off? Are there any actions to back our words up?
If we begin to examine our lives closely, we will realise that sometimes our words of love fail to show up in our actions.
What does this love exactly look like?
John tells us “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)
Christ is the perfect example of love therefore love should show up in our actions:
Lay down your life
Jesus is the face of sacrificial love because he died for us. If you are wondering, “How should I treat my fellow Christian brothers and sisters?” Treat them like Jesus did. We don’t have to wonder what love is, we don’t have to come up with our own abstract ideas of what love is, but Christ gives us the perfect example.
Jesus is our model of how we should treat one another. Jesus’s life was not taken away from Him, but he actively laid his life down. His life was not stolen from him, he laid it down on his own accord.
No one has ever been able to lay down their lives with the awareness, the power, the authority and the love that Jesus did.
We are to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters
In light of knowing the love of Jesus, we should love one another. We should find a way to sacrifice for our brothers and sisters, and that should not be difficult with so many needs in our world.
The bible does not say we should consider it and it does not say that it’s an option, but it says that we ought to do it. It is a sense of obligation in light of what Christ has done.
The love of Christ obligates us to love one another in practical ways. And that should tell us something about the nature of Christianity. It should also rebuke lot of Christians who run their mouths off, but their lives looking nothing like their words.
This is the model of Christian love; not a pat on the back, not a high five, but sacrificing everything. That’s the model Jesus has given us.
When we brand someone unlovable, we are forgetting the Gospel itself.
Do you think you are too good and important to love certain kinds of people?
Open your heart
The world tells us to just accumulate and enjoy everything we have. That’s very dangerous, because that’s what our hearts love to hear.
The bible does not tell us to keep everything we have, but it always exhorts us towards generosity. There is a danger with our stuff and that’s a good gauge as to where our heart is.
What are you doing when you see your brother and sister in need?
We have responsibility with our finances and possession to one another. Real love it’s not too weak to make it to our wallet.
Do you think that God gives you your money just to enjoy? Just so that you can enjoy everything you acquire? Just so that you can feel good?
The bible is clear that if you get rich, you get rich so that you can be rich in generosity. We need to be careful that we don’t let our hearts cling to money. Abundance is given to us to care for other people. It does not matter how much you have, you can always be a blessing to someone else.
Would you even know if your brother or sister was in need?
When was the last time you asked somebody if they needed something?
When was the last time you offered yourself to a family if you knew they were in need?
Loving one another means paying attention to each other; that we actually ask and probe questions. It means taking an interest in other people’s lives. It means being open about where we are. Now this is counter cultural, because it’s calling us to work for the benefit of the other people sometimes.
I cannot claim that I am committed to my brother or sister’s needs if I refuse to do anything about it. Let’s strive to be those kind of people that care for one another. That means, we have to be open about our needs.
It’s important to note that a healthy dependence on one another is not a sign of immaturity but a sign of maturity, it’s a sign of humility and loving God.
Jesus is the best example of this generous love.
We should love with our actions
There is no real love that is not accompanied by action. When you say you love your brothers and sisters, do you do anything? Does it show up in your actions?
Actions are a test of our genuine love, like a lie detector test.
Think back on this year, how have you interacted with those that you say you love?
Have you stopped to check on their needs?
There is not any other kind of love; love is actively doing well. We shouldn’t wait around for opportunities to love other people, we should actively seek ways to love others. How do you grow in this type of love?
Keep looking at the cross, that’s what empowers us to love each other. Don’t ever lose sight of the cross otherwise you will lose sight of loving other people.