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Daily Devotional (GPS)

April 19, 2024

Loving “with action and truth” makes God visible

Daily Scripture

1 John 3:16-19, 4:7-13

1 John 3
16 This is how we know love: Jesus laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 But if someone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but refuses to help—how can the love of God dwell in a person like that?
18 Little children, let’s not love with words or speech but with action and truth. 19 This is how we will know that we belong to the truth and reassure our hearts in God’s presence.

1 John 4
7 Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. 8 The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how the love of God is revealed to us: God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him. 10 This is love: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins.
11 Dear friends, if God loved us this way, we also ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God remains in us and his love is made perfect in us. 13 This is how we know we remain in him and he remains in us, because he has given us a measure of his Spirit.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

These passages dived deep into love’s meaning, urging readers to move beyond sentimentality and translate love into concrete actions (1 John 3:16). This message came to early Christians who faced hardship—challenges from false teachers and potential persecution. 1 John emphasized the call to prioritize the well-being of others, even if it required personal sacrifice. This was founded on a central truth: “God is love” (1 John 4:8). This was a revelation of God’s very nature.

  • If we stop to think about it, we know love is more than just a feeling. The agape that Jesus and the apostles taught was about action, even (as in Jesus’ self-giving life and death) radical action. So, 1 John tells us that the agape we have received compels us to act. But how do we bridge the gap between the warm feelings our culture associates with love and the often difficult, even radical, choices that true, sacrificial love demands?

  • John’s letter did not say that “God loves.” It added that amazingly significant word “is”— “God is love.” God could no more stop loving than an ocean could stop being wet. How does knowing, and seeking to understand, that love is the very essence of who God is transform your approach to loving others? How does your heart respond to the challenge of letting God’s love flow through you so that, in a world where “no one has ever seen God,” others can glimpse God through you?

Prayer

God, reveal to me the depths of your love, a love that asks for nothing in return. Grant me the strength to mirror that love not just in what I say but through my actions toward others. May they see and experience your love through me. Amen.

GPS Insights

Lauren Cook
Lauren Cook

Lauren Cook serves as the Entry Points Program Director at Resurrection. She is a self-proclaimed foodie, a bookworm, and is always planning her next trip. She has the sweetest (and sassiest) daughter, Carolina Rae, a rockstar husband, Austin, and a cutie pup named Thunder. She loves connecting with others so let her know the best place you've ever eaten, best book you've ever read, or best place you've ever been!

Today is my mom’s birthday. This is only her second heavenly birthday, so I’m still a bit shocked that I’m here thinking about what would have been her 55th birthday and she isn’t here. In fact, it popped up on my calendar to remind me and I thought, “Oh, shoot! Time to call mom!” Until I remembered.  

This is a hard day. The waves of grief that tend to just lap at my ankles are crashing over me today. However, I’m at a place now where I can look into the waves while also looking back at the shore. On the shore, I see the memories of her deep love for her family. I see those still here who are also full of her love and who need mine. I can reach back towards this love to pull me back to safety.

This is what love does for us. Love sees you when you’re broken, when the world is crashing down, when you can’t see which way to go, when you’re uncertain and afraid, when you feel lost or alone, and it reaches into the dark and grabs your hand. Love reminds you that you are never alone, that you can never be too lost to be found, and it points you back to the places of safety. Sometimes love looks like a family member, sometimes love looks like a word or message from a friend, sometimes love looks like a co-worker who notices you, sometimes love looks like a stranger who holds the door but love always looks like a God who chooses you each and every day and gave His son so that you might know how much you matter.

I am reminded of the quote many of you have heard, “Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.” I understand this quote, but I don’t agree with it and here is why: Our love always has a place to go and that is out towards a world that needs it.

So while I grieve today, I also celebrate and I also look for places to put this unspent love. I look for the people who also look a little tired, lost and overwhelmed. If that’s you today, too, know that I see you and I love you. Know that you are loved endlessly and abundantly by a God who sees you. Embrace that love, surround your heart with it and then allow it to flow back out today. It helps, I promise.

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