Bible Reading: 1 John 3:10-23
Love is seen in actions and not just words. One remarkable translation of 1 John 3:18 says, “My darling children, lets not deceive ourselves by paying lip service to love while we can truly live the dynamic of love in our practical daily doing” [Mirror Bible].
When we decide to show love in practical ways, such as kindness, listening, giving, encouraging and sharing, then the Holy Spirit begins to make this the basis of our living. What comes first, the Holy Spirit filling me with love or my decision to love people? Many years ago, I heard someone say, “Motion leads to emotion”. Literally, action leads to passion.
In his book The Myth of the Greener Grass, J. Alan Peterson wrote a remarkable story of someone who made a decision to act in a loving way. Although the motive is questionable, the end result is remarkable.
Newspaper columnist and minister George Crane tells of a wife who came into his office full of hatred toward her husband. “I do not only want to get rid of him; I want to get even. Before I divorce him, I want to hurt him as much as he has me.”
Dr. Crane suggested an ingenious plan “Go home and act as if you really love your husband. Tell him how much he means to you. Praise him for every decent trait. Go out of your way to be as kind, considerate, and generous as possible. Spare no efforts to please him, to enjoy him. Make him believe that you love him. After you’ve convinced him of your undying love and that you cannot live without him, then drop the bomb. Tell him that you’re getting a divorce. That will really hurt him. “
With revenge in her eyes, she smiled and exclaimed, “Beautiful, beautiful. Will he ever be surprised!”
And she did it with enthusiasm. Acting “as if”. For two months she showed, love kindness, listening, giving, reinforcing, and sharing.
When she didn’t return Crane called. “Are you ready now to go through with the divorce?”
“Divorce!” she exclaimed. “Never! I discovered I really do love him.” Her actions had changed her feelings. Motion resulted in emotion. The ability to love is established not so much by fervent promise as often-repeated deeds”.
Imagine how powerful it would be to make such a decision with a right motive and backed by the Holy Spirit!
What do you think comes first, waiting for the Holy Spirit to fill you with love or trusting God to fill you as you begin to reach out to others in acts of love?
Read 1 John 3:16 & 17. What two examples of love in action does John mention in these verses?