THURSDAY, JANUARY 26
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
– 1 John 3:16-17
LOVE IN RESPONSE
In this letter, John is writing about the love of God and the love of people. John makes it plain we know what love is because we have seen Jesus Christ, and he has laid down his life for us. As a result, we should lay down our lives for our sisters and brothers. Jesus died in our place; he chose to die the death that we deserved in order that we would be made right with God once and forever. This is how we know what love is.
From his statement about Christ’s substitutionary death, John immediately discusses the implications this has on us! The love that we have seen demonstrated by Jesus Christ is an example that we should imitate. We, too, should lay down our lives for the sake of others.
Self-giving love is the way of Jesus Christ.
To give our lives away is a beautiful and “extreme” thing to do. I love the way that verse 17 simplifies it: “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” John is not talking about dying in the place of someone else; he is just simply asking if we are willing to share our worldly possessions with our brothers and sisters in need.
Do we imitate Christ’s love in the way that we share our worldly goods? Do we imitate Christ’s love when we have an opportunity to be generous? Do we imitate Christ’s love when we see someone in need?
The example that we have all faced is coming into contact with someone who is experiencing homelessness. Are we to be generous to them? Do we turn the other way? While you and the Lord can hammer out where your conscience lies, let’s consider what it would look like to carry a box of granola bars in your car, and anytime you come across someone experiencing homelessness, you would look them in the eye and give them something to eat. This is a simple gesture, but a way as followers of Jesus to acknowledge a person in their humanity and help serve them from the overflow of our physical needs.
In all of this, we are not generous our of obligation but out of response to the love we have experienced through Jesus Christ.
Thank you for your Word. We pray that by your Spirit, 1 John 3:16-17 would change us into the likeness of Christ. May we love like we have been loved. May self-giving love be a trademark of our lives as we serve and care for the people around us. Father, we pray this now through The Son and By the Spirit. Amen.