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Daily Devotional 1 John 3: 16-18

Christ “astounds and sustains us with his endless kindness,” wrote Dane Ortlund in Gentle and Lowly. “Only as we walk ever deeper into this tender kindness can we live the Christian life as the New Testament calls us to. Only as we drink down the kindness of the heart of Christ will we leave in our wake, everywhere we go, the aroma of heaven.”

Let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

1 JOHN 3:18

Jesus not only gives us a loving example to follow but the strength to do so. While Cain acted in hatred and selfishness (see yesterday’s reading), Jesus acted in love and complete selflessness. John shows that Jesus is more than an example of kindness. He is the very definition of love (v. 16). We most clearly see His love in that He “laid down his life for us.” What Jesus did is the opposite of Cain’s murder in every way: Christ’s action gave life, not took it. He sacrificed His own life, not ended another’s. Jealousy and hatred were entirely absent from His thoughts, words, and actions.

We should do the same, taking up our cross daily in Christ’s spirit of sacrificial love (Luke 9:23–24). What does this mean in everyday life? It might mean, for example, giving material possessions or our time to brothers and sisters in need (v. 17; James 2:14–17). Not to share is selfish; the love of God is not present.

Christian love is not merely a feeling. If words (including social media posts!) are not accompanied with actions, love is not love but rather empty hypocrisy (v. 18). We’re not to love only those who are similar to us or agree with us. We’re to love all our brothers and sisters in Christ. How? In Christ. He is our standard, our model, and our source of strength.

>> On this Valentine’s Day, we invite you to feel absolutely secure in “the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38–39). Nothing in all of creation, natural or supernatural, can separate you from His love!

Pray with Us

“You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand on me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain” (Ps. 139:5–6). Knowing us fully, You love us, Lord!

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