Devotional

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth..” – 1 John 3:18 (NIV). 

Life is short as we discover daily. It’s a popular trend these days to create a bucket list; a list of things we would like to do before we die.  The usual suspects that make up these bucket lists include running a marathon, going skydiving, dive at the Great Barrier Reef, hiking through the Himalayas, going on a wildlife safari, or meeting a certain celebrity to name a few. Some have philanthropic goals added to their lists but most lists are made up of things to bring personal pleasure or thrill to your life while you still have it.   

It brings up the question, what is on your spiritual bucket list? There are plenty of things that God has told us to do before we die and there are certain other things that would be good for our spiritual development. People have all kinds of things on their spiritual bucket list: Go on a short-term mission trip; read the whole Bible; be bold, be selfless, be loving to name a few. What about you? Do you have such a list?

One item that should be on our list is to show Christ through your actions. If people want to know what we believe, they look at our actions. What we do speaks with a powerful eloquence about what we believe.

So what are our actions saying? What do you do when you are alone, or when your plans are interrupted, or you are disappointed, or your weakness is exposed, or you’re tempted to fear, or someone else prospers or excels you, or you’re called on to help meet someone else’s financial need? When those who are closest to you are honest, those who observe you in your unguarded and unexpected moments, what do they hear from your actions?

1 John 3:18 is such an important verse to know, which says, “let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”  According to this verse, the best way to love someone is by loving them through actions. This verse shouldn’t diminish the fact that words have power and are important, but it does point out that it isn’t all about words, because it takes actions too. Practically speaking, in addition to loving someone by words, it means making sacrifices by meeting the needs of others, being generous with your time, helping financially, and serving others when it is needed.

The Message translation says, “My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love.”  Don’t be all talk and no action. And don’t be all action and no talk. Love others as the bible has called you to do. Don’t just love others by speaking in love, but love with actions too. Make it part of your bucket list if you are not already doing it. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are some things on your spiritual bucket list? 
  2. What can you do to “practice real love” today?