By Tara Wentworth
"My little children, let us not love in word, neither
in tongue; but in deed and in truth." I John 3:18.
Volumes have been written about love, but few have lived
out that love in their lives. God is love, and believers are
to be like Him. Therefore, we are to love as He does. This
is a "one way" love that does not expect something
in return. It is unconditional.
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
I John 3:16.
In our fallen nature, we would reverse the order. In fact,
we would scarcely sacrifice ourselves for a friend, unless
there was something to gain. Yet Jesus prayed that the love,
which the Father had for Him, would be in His followers.
"And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will
declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved
Me may be in them, and I in them." John 17:26.
This love that we are exhorted to practice is to work itself
out in our daily life experience.
For example, we are to refuse wrong thoughts about each other.
This means bringing into captivity (to the obedience of Christ)
every thought that is contrary to the well being of another.
This is done by forgiving, and keeping no record of wrongs
against us. The principle of love always has a practical testing
When we are willing to be inconvenienced for the benefit
of others, when we no longer covet what others have and rejoice
with them instead, we will begin to see others respond to
the God of love. It is the practical outworking of God's love
in our lives that will restore wounded believers and win the
His love will be progressively worked into our lives as we
increasingly show His sacrificial agape love to others. Should
we fail to walk in His love however, we should not be discouraged.
Rather, we should learn from the experience. The test will
come again, and love will have its opportunity to grow in
Peter exhorts us to "love one another with a pure heart
fervently" (I Peter 1:22b). Any expression of love that
does not come from a pure heart will become perverted and
seek its own satisfaction; therefore we must allow the Holy
Spirit to cleanse any self-centeredness or seeking from us.
This love does not stem from our emotions, although many
times love generates an emotional response. Just as forgiveness
is an act of our will, so practical love, as defined in that
great love chapter, I Corinthians 13, is also an act of our
will. We choose to be patient, kind, giving.
This kind of love is impossible to demonstrate apart from
Christ as the source and the power behind our actions. As
we abide in Him, His love becomes the expression of our life.
Just as we made the decision to ask Jesus into our lives,
we must decide to allow His love to work itself out through
This means the laying aside our selfish ways by dying to
self. It is a day by day process, action by action; for we
never arrive, though it will become easier as we continue
in this love walk.
Throughout the centuries, many shining lights have exhibited
His love, but the world has yet to see the Church as a whole
demonstrate God's love.
This will only happen as each of us begins to live out His