I hope this day finds you and your family well. I invite you to take a few moments with me to read and reflect upon today’s scripture selection — and to carry these thoughts with you into your day.
Today’s Scripture: 1 John 3:16-24
16 This is how we know love: Jesus laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 But if someone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but refuses to help—how can the love of God dwell in a person like that?
18 Little children, let’s not love with words or speech but with action and truth. 19 This is how we will know that we belong to the truth and reassure our hearts in God’s presence. 20 Even if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts and knows all things. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts don’t condemn us, we have confidence in relationship to God. 22 We receive whatever we ask from him because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. 23 This is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love each other as he commanded us. 24 Those who keep his commandments dwell in God and God dwells in them. This is how we know that he dwells in us, because of the Spirit 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 reflections I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster