Love is Action

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35

Love is a choice. It transcends feelings. Some people think that showing love when they don’t feel like it is hypocrisy. In reality, loving others despite our emotions and despite our object of love is obedience! If you wait for feelings, they will never come. Obedience comes first, then the feelings will usually follow.

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:18) Most of the time, our behavior do not match what we believe in. We say we love people but our lives do not reflect this.
Jesus invites us to love not just in words but in actions. He gave us a classic example of how to practice love in Luke 10. “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.” (vv.30-32) Notice that these are religious people—the only ones allowed by the law to actively participate in the temple services. But they refused to help the person who was in need. In many ways, some of us are like them. We are too busy with our own agendas whether in the home, office, school or church, that we fail to notice the needs of the people around us.

“But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion,” (Luke 10:33) To His audience’s surprise, Jesus used a Samaritan as a model of love in His parable. History tells us that the relation between Jews and Samaritans was one of hostility. But here we see that the Samaritan felt compassion for the man who was in a desperate situation and attended to his needs. “And [he] came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’” (Luke 10:34-35)

Love is action. It is costly. The Samaritan laid aside his personal agendas and was willing to be inconvenienced. It took him time to clean the man’s wounds and to bandage him. Loving can be expensive. It cost the Samaritan his wine, oil, and 2 denarii to pay for the inn. Loving can be very risky. The Samaritan exposed himself to the robbers that might be hiding somewhere. Some of us have been hurt by people and have become hardened by pain. You refuse to open up yourself to others again, in order to protect yourself. Friends, it is impossible to obey Jesus’ command without taking the risks of loving.

We were not commanded to love in our own strength but to depend on Jesus. “We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) Jesus is our standard of love. And this is how He showed His love for us: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Apart from God’s grace, we cannot love others like Jesus did. We have to accept God’s love first before we can love others. The next step is to obey despite our feelings, and then to entrust everything else to Him. Practice love by slowing down in order to recognize and attend to people’s needs. Take action and be a neighbor to the person in front of you!


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