Love in Action

1 John 16-18 

16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

Maria Dyer was born in 1837 on the mission field in China where her parents were pioneer missionaries. Both her parents died when Maria was a little girl, and she was sent back to England to be raised by an uncle. The loss of her parents, however, did not deter her young heart from the importance of sharing the gospel. At age sixteen she, along with her sister, returned to China to work in a girl’s school as a missionary herself. Five years later, she married Hudson Taylor, a man well-known today for his life of ministry, faith, and sacrifice.

Hudson and Maria’s work was often criticized—even by other Christians. At one point Maria wrote, “As to the harsh judgings of the world, or the more painful misunderstandings of Christian brethren, I generally feel that the best plan is to go on with our work and leave God to vindicate our cause.” Of their nine children, only four survived to adulthood. Maria herself died of cholera when she was just forty-three. But she believed the cause was worthy of the sacrifice. On her grave marker these words were inscribed: “For her to live was Christ, and to die was gain.”
How do we know that God loves us? The answer is in John 3:16. How does the world know that we love them? That answer isn’t quite so easy is it? To many of our churches are sanctified country clubs. We come in, pay our dues and expect to receive the benefits of being a member. We come to be served, not to serve. We come to be fed, not to feed. In a culture of consumerism we have lost what it means to be the body of Christ! John says how can we say we love the One who sacrificed Himself for us if we are not willing to lay down our lives as a sacrifice as well? Are we not willing to give of ourselves to meet the needs of others (both physical and spiritual!)?
John echos James in their teaching that if we are to live the life of faith, exhibiting the love of God in our lives then it MUST be through action. Do you feel compassion to those who are in need around you or do you turn away and harden your heart? Just as Christ showed us His love by His sacrifice for us, we will only show our love for those around us by sacrificing as well. Our time, our talents, our treasure. What is the need? Is it a meal? Is it a gospel witness? Is it a moment to encourage? It’s easy to tell those around us that we love them – but the proof of that love is in what we do. 
Today as we ReFocus our hearts and minds on Christ we must ask ourselves if we are truly living sacrifices for Christ. Does our actions show others the Love of God – or is it just words. Can you think of some practical ways right now that you show someone His love? Whatever just came to your mind – DO IT! My desire is that is it one day said of me, “For him to live was Christ, and to die was Gain!”


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