Intro: Recently, John and I celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary. As well, our family got together to celebrate two birthdays and I thought to myself, “Where did the time go?” Have you ever felt like you were watching time fly by? Was it ever actually slower or was I just more immersed and engaged in the details of parenting and purpose of life during those moments? As we gathered for dinner to celebrate, I looked at each loved one there and said a prayer, “Thank you, Lord, for my heart is full and my thoughts overflow with sweet memories of the love we have shared during the years.” There are no perfect times or perfect families, but God is good and his love is perfect. I must never forget it.
We all have the same number of hours, minutes, and seconds in a day. We cannot slow time down, nor speed it up. Therefore, we must be purposeful about what our call is each day as God’s children: to love God wholeheartedly, as well as love other people. If we want to know that we are using our time each day wisely, God has given us an indicator for our lives. We are to avoid selfishness, hunger for righteousness, deeply love our brothers and sisters in the faith, and reach out to serve Christ’s purpose for redeeming love in our spheres of influence. If we are not living purposefully each day with those things in mind, we are “wasting” our divine opportunities to share eternal life with others. The love we should be sharing is the love of the Father, because the Holy Spirit fills our hearts with His love (Romans 5:5).
In our passage today, the Apostle John wants us to evaluate our faith when it comes to eternal life, because within the world we witness good and evil. Are we sharing saving faith and hope in God’s goodness and perfect love with those around us or just going through the motions of life; sleepily moving through the duties of our worldly roles? Can we lay our heads on our pillows knowing we have been purposeful that day to touch the lives of others with the indispensable character of God’s love? When we are deliberate about extending God’s love we demonstrate that we know Christ and are tasting the power outflowing his resurrection (Phil 3:10-11).
The hope of every believer should rest in Christ’s final work one day within us to conform us to his perfect image; he will finish that work and we will be just like him in how he loves. In the meantime, the desire should be growing within us to share his likeness now in the many ways the Spirit makes available.
1 John 3:11-17 (NLT)
Love One Another
11 This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous. 13 So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
14 If we love our brothers and sisters who are believers, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. 15 Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.
16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?
Prayer: Father, thank you for the love you have given me through the Holy Spirit. Help me to use every day as a way to share your love with others who are facing some kind of lack; may I rise to help them spiritually, emotionally, or physically. Continue to form me in your image, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.