Real Love

Real Love

22 August 2009


We know what real love is because Christ gave up his life for us. And so we also ought to give up our lives for our Christian brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:16 NLT)

John is relentless in writing to the Christ-followers of his generation about real love – what it is, what it isn’t, what it does, what it doesn’t do.

I think they must have had the same problem we have – the problem of wanting to keep everything theological and theoretical and making excuses when their behavior didn’t match their beliefs and their actions didn’t match their words.

John says if we love God we’ll do what he says and if we are God’s children we’ll love our brothers and sisters.

OK, I believe you, John. So for the past three days as I’ve been reading your letter to the churches, I’ve been taking it personally – very personally. I’m looking over my relationships with other people, starting with my wife and my children and grandchildren, looking at relationships with people all over the world (it’s amazing how God has brought them to mind these past few days), and with people in my church and my neighborhood.

If I’m truly what you say I am, a child of God, then I will love and not hate my brothers and sisters. And now, in 1 John 3:16 you define real love – “Christ gave up his life for us.”

Real love is not merely getting along with people, or tolerating people in spite of their differences, or forgiving people when they hurt me. Real love is to give up my life, to lay down my life, to make some degree of personal sacrifice for others. Real love is unselfish and sacrificial.

I want to think and speak and act in such a way that real love grows in me and flows out from me.


Father, I accept with joy my “childhood.” I am your child and you are my father and I want real love, the love defined by Jesus as love that lays down my life for others, to grow in me as I grow in Christ. May I grow to love others like you love me. Amen.

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