Love comes from God. He loved us first. We love because He loved us first (1 John 4:19). Again and again in the Bible, we read how God loves us. We read of His love in action. John wrote that we shouldn’t just say that we love each other. Love isn’t simply words. Instead, “let us show the truth by our actions.” Let us love people by our actions. If we act in love, then we are showing our love.
John wrote a lot about love. Remember he was the beloved disciple. He walked with He Who is love. In 1 John 3:14, we read, “If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead” (NLT). John is saying that if we do not have love, that we are dead. Dead. Because if we do not have love, we do not know God (1 John 4:8). If we are not alive in Christ, we are dead in our transgressions.
Today, take time to accept God’s love and renew yourself in it. Consider how God loves you. Ask God to teach you to love like He loves. Aim to intentionally share His love with others. Ask the Spirit to reveal anything you are doing without love. Let us speak words of love, but let us also act in love.
“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” – 1 John 3:18 [NLT]
In Revelation we read about the church in Sardis. The church was spiritually dead. The Message calls them “stone-dead.” They looked alive. They had a reputation for vigor. But they were like the whitewashed tombs Jesus spoke about when referring to the Pharisees. From the outside it looked great but it was a façade and God is not fooled.
You might look like you have it all together. You might tithe, serve at the local soup kitchen, attend Sunday service. You might look like you are being a “good Christian.” But God sees the heart—He sees your heart. He can see right through the work and know if you are doing it because you have a heart for Him and His people or if you are doing it to keep up with the Joneses or to appear righteous.
There was a clear warning to the people of Sardis. Jesus told them to wake up, repent and strengthen what remained in them. Today I pray that you are not a stone-dead worker. May God reveal to you the areas within you that are not alive and may you repent if your eyes are opened to these things. Never aim for a false reputation. Never build up a façade life. There is no point to a dead worker.
“Write this to Sardis, to the Angel of the church. The One holding the Seven Spirits of God in one hand, a firm grip on the Seven Stars with the other, speaks: ‘I see right through your work. You have a reputation for vigor and zest, but you’re dead, stone-dead.’” – Revelation 3:1 [MSG]
While walking Jesus saw a dead son being carried along with the mother of the son and a group who gathered with her. She was a widow. He was her only son. I couldn’t imagine what she was going through suffering yet another loss. As one would expect, she was crying.
Jesus saw her and the Bible says “his heart overflowed with compassion.” He told the widow not to cry. He raised her son. The passage said that Jesus gave him back to his mother. What once was lost she had again.
The Lord’s heart overflows with compassion for each of us. He loves each of us that much. There are moments when I am crying and I can feel this sudden peace. “Don’t cry.” I’m not alone. You’re not alone. His compassion overflows with such a great outpouring to each one of us, so much so that He, the only Son, died and rose again so that we too could rise again, that we can have new life.
“When the Lord saw her, his heart overflowed with compassion. ‘Don’t cry!’ he said.” – Luke 7:13 [NLT]
We typically take whatever effort we can to not let people see us for who we really are, and to keep up the image we want people to have of us. I saw a neighbour attempting to walk out in his pajamas to get the newspaper. When he noticed that I was fast approaching, he ran back into his home and hid in wait until I passed by, only to then walk out quickly to grab his morning paper. He was wearing pajamas and a robe, but he didn’t want anyone to notice. I guess he assumes people believe he doesn’t wear sleepwear to sleep, or that perhaps he does not even sleep at all. Later I noticed a pre-teen boy fall at the bus stop. He cowered and went by himself to another area because he did not want his friends to see him crying because of the pain he was feeling.
Jesus called the Pharisees white washed tombs because they were spiritually dead inside. They knew all about the Law, down the fine print; however, their hearts were dead. They liked to put on this facade for everyone, making it look as if they were high, upstanding individuals. The truth is that God sees our hearts. He sees what is going on even if we hide behind our screen doors, waiting to make a dash for the paper. He sees that we are crying when we try to hide our face. He sees everything that we do at every moment of our lives. We can pretend with everyone else, but there is no pretending with God.
I find it amazing that God loves me so much despite the fact that He has seen everything I have ever done, and that He also knows what I will do next but does not leave my side. I have found that rather than spend the extra time trying to hide and pretend, that when we are transparent, when we let people see everything, there is a great peace in our lives. Being transparent also allows God’s light to shine through so much brighter. People can see God at work in your life.
I pray that you are able to be more transparent today. I hope that if you are hiding things in your life and trying hard to live up to a particular image, that you let go of the facade and focus on the Truth. God thinks you are awesome despite the flaws. Let God help you and work in your life; don’t hide.
“But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.’”
– 1 Samuel 16:7 [ESV]