Journal Entry // November 23, 2022
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (ESV)1 John 3:18
What is the indicator that love permeates my heart? Is it the words that I speak or the actions I exhibit? I think that both are important to truly having love for your brothers and your neighbors. It is important to speak and talk to everyone in a loving way. It is also important to demonstrate my professed love with action and deeds. It is not enough to give verbal ascent to loving someone. It is minimalistic to only give words of love as we converse. I need to let love so permeate my heart that I demonstrate my profession with action. That I love both in my speech and in my deeds. This is the outworking and overflow of the love of Christ in me.
It is rather simple to deceive myself into believing that I am a loving person and that I am loving others in both word and deed. I can convince myself that because I say loving words to someone, then I am being obedient to Christ. I can say these loving words and still harbor bitterness and anger in my heart. I can speak untruthful love. I can speak loving lies that are meant to convince the person that I love them, when in truth I am steeping my heart in hurt and resentment. I cover over the truth of my hurt to portray a façade of love.
This is why John encourages us to love not only in words but in deed and in truth. There is deep meaningful heart changing grace being exhibited when our words match our actions. When I demonstrate the love I am speaking with deeds in truth, my heart is connected to the heart of Jesus. These are the three key elements for loving my family and loving my neighbor. I must be speaking and acting in love with truth. This truth is the gospel of Christ. The gospel informs the words that I speak and the actions that I show. This is true gospel love.
My love for others is simply a manifestation and reflection of the love of Christ for me. The love of Christ must saturate my heart and mind. This love is not a worldly love based on what my neighbor has done for me or can do for me in the future. This love is based solely on what Jesus has already done for me and what he has already done for my neighbor. He has changed my heart and filled me with the love and truth of his gospel. He has filled my heart to overflowing. This overflow is where my words of love come from. This overflow is where my deeds of love come from. This filling of my heart with the gospel love of Jesus never diminishes. I can draw from this deep wellspring of love in my heart and never come up empty. There is always more love from Jesus available to me. His love for me is limitless.
So as I take comfort in the love of Jesus for me, I am free to love others in the truth. I can speak words of love to others and so demonstrate the love of Christ for them. I perform deeds of love for others to be the hands and feet of Christ to them. I can speak and do love to others because the love of Christ has been spoken and done for me on the cross. I have no need for a worldly temporary love. I have an eternal love flowing into my heart from the holy and righteous One. The One who is dwelling within me is love itself.