Tag Archives: charity

December 26; That’s Love

I John 4-5; 2 John; 3 John; Revelation 1

I remember Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God. Not just having a warm, fuzzy feeling toward Him, but to love God with all our hearts, all our souls, and all our minds. That is total love, intentional love.

Then Jesus said the second greatest commandment is like the first; love your neighbor as yourself. John, in his letters, emphasizes what love of God and others looks like in the day to day.

The apostle goes so far as to say that if someone doesn’t love, that person doesn’t even know God The evidence of our love for God is in our love for one another. If you harbor hate toward someone, you can’t love God. It’s that clear.

John says we love because God loved us first. John also says our obedience is proof of our love for God, and that obedience will result in showing love for people. The disciple also says, the blessed truth of the matter is, God’s commands are not burdensome. It’s not impossible to obey God. In fact, I believe God’s commandments make sense, and would make the world a safer, happier, healthier place if people just obeyed them.

We just are coming out of a season of love. Many needy people received an expression of love as food banks were filled, as mitten trees, secret Santas, adopt-a-family efforts were filled by people showing love. You can hear reports of generous giving this time of year.

But let me remind us that Jesus’ demonstration of love did not just result in meeting people’s physical needs, although that was certainly a major part of the way Jesus’ loved. Jesus met people’s spiritual needs, often BEFORE he did anything about physical needs.

The greatest expression of love for God is sharing the Gospel with someone for whom Jesus died. There is nothing that says “I love God” more than standing in the gap between heaven and hell for the eternal soul of another, turning a sinner around, and introducing them to their Savior.

So let’s continue to take care of the physical and material needs of people around us in the name of Jesus. But let’s not neglect to encourage a sinner to repent.

That’s love.

A Good Heart

How many times have you heard or said: He (she) has a good heart? How do you know? An adulterer who takes in stray animals, a thief who volunteers to mow a neighbor’s lawn, a liar who takes meals to shut-ins. Does kindness or thoughtfulness indicate a good heart?

In Jeremiah 17:9&10, we read that the human heart is “the most deceitful of all things and desperately wicked.” Who can know what is truly in a heart, what really motivates a person to do anything?

Only God.

God is not fooled by acts of charity when the charitable person is harboring hatred or evil, and is rejecting him. I might be fooled into thinking a person has a good heart, even into thinking he or she walks with God. But unless that heart has been broken over sin, unless that person has repented and accepted God’s forgiveness, that person is actually carrying around a desperately wicked heart, and Jeremiah reminds us God judges the heart.

You can put pearls on a pig, but it’s still a pig. You can put frosting on manure, but that doesn’t make it a birthday cake any more than a kind act gives an unsaved person a good heart.

Can non-believers be nice people, kind, and considerate? Of course they can. Satan is the master at making sin look good. But let’s not be fooled into thinking they are ok the way they are. Because “good” isn’t good enough! And an unrepentant heart is not a good heart.

God, I pray that each of us will take a good look at our own heart because that’s the only heart we can know. Your word tells us that without you, our hearts are desperately wicked. It also tells us you don’t judge our actions without judging our hearts. May our hearts be broken in light of our sin, may we bow before you in repentance, and may you turn our wicked hearts into good hearts. May we determine to obey your word today, and may others recognize that any goodness in us comes from you.