“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”
My little children,
John uses a term of endearment here because he is about to chastise his readers. He genuinely cares about their spiritual condition.
let us not love in word or in tongue,
John now makes a call for continuing love that demonstrates itself in action and truth.
but in deed
Loving in “deed” stands over against loving in “word.” Some people are all talk and no action. God’s standard for love manifests itself in action. A believer of true love does something about meeting the needs of others. To love in deed means that the lover does something to meet the need of someone else. Love is more than words; it is action.
and in truth
Love is more than sentiment; it involves the reality of action. Love loves genuinely. Mouthing pious platitudes is not love. True love shows itself in service to others. Love for fellow Christians is always produced by the truth. Some Christians do not love in truth, as noted in James.
Jas 2:14-17, 14 “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
True love costs something. It cost Jesus’ life to pay for our sins.
We find the manifestation of genuine love in vital performance, not in verbal profession.
Talk is cheap. God expects genuine love, not cheap talk about love. It is not all talk and no walk. When we substitute talk for love, we miss the heart of biblical love. Divine love, in point of fact, meets the needs of others.
God wants the Christian to love with His love. We cannot love with our anemic love and love to the standard that God expects of us. We draw on God’s love to love others.
1 Pe 1:22, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart…”
This love requires the filling of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is love (Ga 5:22). Ask God to fill you with Calvary love (Jn 3:16; 1 Jn 3:16). God will make our burdens lighter if we extend love to others. Our problems do not seem to be as dreadful when we love and help others.
Be a blessing to someone who is sick or shut in. If you are in the grip of selfishness, you will live in misery. This is love based on Christ-centered love. This is divine love, love that comes from fellowship with the God of love.
2 Co 5:14, “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”
Love for a wife is more than words; it involves action and sacrifice. She sees that he cherishes her by what he does as well as by what he says. It is not sufficient to announce our commitment to fellow Christians; we must give ourselves sacrificially to them. True love always meets needs.
Love is not maudlin sentimentality. It is not gushing over people and telling them how wonderful they are, “Oh, you are such a wonderful person.” That is a form of love, but it is not biblical love. Biblical love is something far greater than maudlin sentimentality.