I have been reading and listening to the book of James over and over again for the last two weeks.. It's a real in-your-face sort of book.. In a nutshell, it says "if you're going to call yourself a Christian, you need to start acting like it"..
So yesterday I thought that I would lighten the mood a little and read 1 John.. It's an easy read all about love.. Just what I needed after pouring over James!
I wasn't actually reading 1 John.. I was sort of listening to it on my iPhone while I did the dishes.. But something I heard jumped out at me.. I stopped what I was doing and listened to it again:
"We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did". ~ 1 John 2:1-6
I heard that and my mind went back to James 2:10 ~ "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it".
Jesus gave us two rules to live by "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself." Luke 10:27
We can say we love God.. Easily.. But if we do not love others, do we truly love the Lord?
I don't mean what a lot of us mean when we say we love others.. You know, what I'm talking about.. When we say "I love them with the love of the Lord" or "I love them because God loves them" when what we really mean is "I don't like that person at all, but I'm a Christian and God says to love everybody, so I'll just keep saying I love them because God does"..
John said whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did.. Jesus didn't pretend to love others.. He didn't tell people, "I really can't stand you, but my Father loves you so I have to"..
He loved, and His actions proved it..
He washed the feet of His disciples.. He got down on His knees, humbled himself before them and washed their feet.. Even the feet of the man he knew would betray Him.. If that's not love, I don't know what is..
He didn't just say that He loved others, He proved it.. Not just to the people who were close to Him, but everyone.. Lepers, cripples, and crazed, demon possesed guys wandering around a cemetery.. He even showed love for the Pharisees and the Sadducees.. The very people who tortured Him and nailed Him to a cross.. Even as they mocked Him, He asked His father to forgive them..
After everything they had done to them, His actions proved that he loved them..
You know, I can say that I love someone.. I can say that I love everyone.. I can even say that I love people who I don't like very much.. But how often do my actions truly prove that?
I don't know exactly how often, but I know this much..
My answer isn't "all the time" and it should be..