29 September 2016
The Real Test of Love
‘Let us not love with words… but with actions.’
1 John 3:18 NIV
Words are great. Words are important. Words overflow out of the generosity of our hearts. They spill out in kind words, encouragement, prayer. As you’re out and about every day - at the checkout, at the bus stop - you can unleash them on people. Ask God for a generous spirit and He’ll give you one, and the first place you might notice it is in your words. Telling people what you see in them. Calling out how they encourage you. Bragging about them to others. Encouraging them behind their backs. Using your words in that way can actually be a kind of action in itself, because you’re not just flattering people, you’re asking God for the power to lift their days, to help shape their futures, and their view of themselves. But actions are where you see the reality behind the words: whether they’re true, or not. So when John writes ‘Let us not love with words…but with actions’, he’s not saying ‘give up saying nice things to people’. He’s saying ‘actions are where the real test of love is’. So when we’re worried about the health of our hearts, a great place to look for a diagnosis is how we act, not how we speak. Do we just want to flatter, or do we have a heart of generosity that looks after people, supports them in real, practical ways, as well?
If you’re a real encourager, give up words today. Try to find practical ways to support people.