what is this thing called love?

Claude Monet, ‘Banks of the Seine


1 John 3:16-24

For Sunday, May 3, 2009
Fourth Sunday of Easter

John, the beloved disciple, was closer to Jesus than anyone, even among Jesus’ most intimate circle of Peter, James, and John. Is it any wonder then that John writes so frequently about the power and significance of love? He knew what it was to be loved by Christ. He was Jesus’ best friend, and learned firsthand what love really is: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ layed down his life for us (1 John 3:16).”

If we have been truly loved then we cannot help but pay this forward to others: “And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” John’s follow-on question brings this into crystal clarity: “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”

John says that love expresses itself not in words but in actions and in truth. He goes so far as to say that the way we know we are really Christians is by the actions and truth by which we live. Does your heart ever condemn you? Then let your loving deeds and your commitment to live the truth give you rest in God’s presence. You aren’t perfect, but you are authentic. Well done!

How would you like to receive from God anything you ask? All you have to do is obey his commands and do what pleases him. What does he command? “Believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another as he commanded us.” As you believe, and as you love, you will then experience the blessing of the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life. “And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.”

What is this thing called love? How desperately our family, friends, and spheres of influence need a living and breathing answer to this question. Let the Spirit within you be your guide.

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