Getting Practical With Love
by Jon Walker
“Little children, let us stop saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions.” (1 John 3:18 LB)
The heart is the control center of all actions. How you act reflects what your heart trusts. Dallas Willard says, “You can live opposite of what you profess, but you cannot live opposite of what you believe.”
Eventually what you believe will show up in your actions. If you believe God loves you, then you’ll begin to love others. If you believe God forgives you, then you’ll begin to forgive others. Your experience of God results in an overflow of his life into the lives of others.
As we allow the Holy Spirit to continually fill us, we become a spring of his love and life to all around us. John would say we have “rivers of living water flowing out of us.” We become a conduit for the life of Jesus.
The life of Jesus is a practical life. The disciples were expected to live out what they heard Jesus say. Jesus told his disciples they would be known by the way they treated others.
He gets specific in Matthew 25:35-36:
· You gave food to the hungry,
· You gave drink to the thirsty,
· You invited a stranger into your home,
· You gave clothes to the naked,
· You cared for the sick,
· You visited the prisoners,
And this isn’t an exhaustive list on the ways to offer practical help. Jesus constantly provides us with down-to-earth examples meant to get us started.
· Love language – Make a list of people you love and pray through it, asking God to show you what you can do that will speak love to each person.
· Take initiative – When someone is in crisis, we genuinely want to help, and we’ll say, “If there’s anything I can do, please, just let me know.” Start changing that to express a concrete form of love: “I’m going to do this for you.” Maybe you offer to bring over a meal or watch the children. Perhaps you offer to cut the grass. Maybe you bring a roll of quarters to the hospital so the family can grab snacks and drinks from the vending machine. Be creative – and let the Holy Spirit guide.
· Fake it ‘til you make it – C.S. Lewis said, if you don’t love someone, then act like you do. Eventually the feelings will catch up with your actions.
· Pray – Be still and ask God to show you someone you know who is in need, and ask him how you should help your friend. Seek God about the timing of your help. Ask him to use your act of service to make his presence known to your friend.
© 2007 Jon Walker . All rights reserved.
Jon Walker is a pastor-advocate living in Tennessee and the former pastor of communications at Saddleback Church. Click HERE for a free subscription to The Purpose Driven Life Daily Devotional, your daily inspiration via email. © 2007 Purpose Driven Life. All rights reserved.