Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
1 John 3:16-24 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
16 We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. 17 How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister[a] in need and yet refuses help?
18 Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 19 And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him 20 whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; 22 and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.
23 And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
Today’s reading is from John—a caring pastor of 1,900 years ago whose words speak powerfully to us even today. John’s words issue a challenge to us that comes directly out of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. His simple message has two parts and they are both found in verse 16: John first tells us how we know love and then he tells us how we are to live love. HOW DO WE KNOW LOVE? John says, “We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us…” HOW ARE WE TO LIVE LOVE? John says, “…we ought to lay down our lives for one another.”
Where we get our understanding of love is so important. Think about how important the source of our understanding of love is—especially when we are children. If our understanding of love comes from a good and healthy example, then we learn to love in good and healthy ways. If our understanding of love comes from a manipulative and harmful example, then we learn to love in ways that are manipulative and harmful. How we know love makes a big difference!
The words of John teach us that if we are to properly love others AND properly love ourselves, then we need to see the example of self-giving love that we have in Jesus Christ. John wrote, “We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us—and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.”
It is good for us to meditate on this important scripture and to think about what it means to walk the talk, to love not only in the words we write or the words we speak, but in an honest way, with integrity, to put in action that self-giving love we see in Jesus.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster