This post really goes along with my prior post, The Love of God. The love of God is primary. Before genuine love of the brethren can exist, there must be the love of God. He is the perfect representation of love. A love that is sacrificial, true, and real. It is a love that is not based upon capricious feelings or personal advantages. God is love (1 John 4:8), and to know Him is to know genuine love.
Today it is rare to see this kind of love. Many relationships are based on a win/win scenario. As long as it is good for both of us then the relationship will continue. When I am no longer in the win category then I end the relationship. God did not pursue a relationship with us using a win/win scenario. We had everything to gain, but He had much to lose. Our relationship with Him led to our forgiveness, eternal life, and heaven. For Jesus it led to mocking, brutality and eventually the cross. We see in Romans 5:8 that “God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” We were His enemies. We were rebels. We were ungrateful. Yet, He loved us and died for us.
When we meditate on this truth, we begin to understand real love. It has become easy in our society to say the words, “I love you.” We can really almost “love” anything. In fact we may say, “I love ice cream”, but that doesn’t mean we would give our lives for ice cream, (well some of us may, so that may not be a great example). The point is that so often when we use the word “love” we are not talking about the love defined by God.
Scripture tells us in 1 John 3:16, “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us”. Here we are given the standard of love. The love of God is selfless and sacrificial. This verse continues, “and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” I know that is easier said than done. And that is the point!!! True love must be more than just said—it must be done. 1 John continues, “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”
I love to hear my wife tell me that she loves me. Those words are infinitely more meaningful because she shows that love in a million different ways. She does not love me just in word but also in deed. Because of her actions primarily and then also her words, I know that I am loved. I don’t believe there is another person on earth that loves me as much as she does. I hope I reflect that same love to her. Better yet, I hope I reflect the love of Christ to her. In fact, the Bible tells me I am to love her as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her (Eph 5:25).
So what is the point in all of this? Show your love first and then say your words. Let your actions be the clear indicator of your love. God’s actions were the clearest indicator of His love. There is nothing greater than to be truly loved. There is nothing more nauseating than to hear empty words without any substance (deeds).