The Look of Love

OPENING PRAYER

Thank you, God, for Your incredible love for me. Teach me how to understand Your love more deeply.

Read: 1 JOHN 3:11–24

11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.

16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

Reflect: WHAT DOES LOVE LOOK LIKE? STILL YOUR MIND, AND FOCUS ON JESUS.

Belonging to God’s family is very simple yet extremely demanding (23). Trust is the only requirement for joining the family, but once part of the family we are expected to reflect the family likeness. Love is the overriding characteristic of both Father and Son (16,17).
Babies don’t usually look much like either parent—they look like babies! But as they grow up they begin to reflect physical features and characteristics of their parents. So it is with Christians. As we grow up in Christ, we grow in our desire and capacity to love others, which proves that we are God’s children (14). As we understand the full extent of the Father’s lavish love (1) and Christ’s practical, sacrificial love, we will begin to show the same compassionate, generous, practical love to others.
Love is characterized by a determined attitude of kindness and generosity toward others and is demonstrated in a myriad of small acts throughout a day: a little extra in your supermarket basket to give to a food bank; a note of encouragement; an evening of babysitting for a single parent; a ride to someone in need. Whatever God has given us—skills, home, food, time—is a gift to share.

APPLY

If you want to love more, ask God to help you (20–22), then look for the opportunities he will put your way.

CLOSING PRAYER

Loving Father, give me Your kind of love for people—those I know and those I don't know, those I like and those I dislike.

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider