Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Imagine that I set up a special lunch for you, where you got to spend three hours with a brain surgeon. The purpose for the lunch was explicitly clear, I would want him to take three hours to clearly explain for you how to do brain surgery. He could define all of the special medical terms and with his butter-knife in hand demonstrate the proper way to hold a scalpel and to make the incisions and how to perform an operation. After lunch, I swing by and pick you up and take you to the surgical unit at the University Hospital. A team is already prepped and waiting for you to get scrubbed up and to go in and perform brain surgery on some poor soul. You have been told all about brain surgery, as a matter of fact, you even spent time with a brain surgeon…but how do you think that thing is going to go? Now, imagine for a moment that I can steal seven years of your life. I will have you study for the first year all of the technical side of surgery and operation. The second and third year, I will have you practice techniques on cadavers (that’s dead people…the mistakes on these ones are less costly). For your fourth, fifth and sixth years, you will stand on the opposite side of the table of a tenured brain surgeon watching his every move.
During your seventh year you perform a hundred brain surgeries, all while under the close supervision of the aforementioned brain surgeon. Then after those seven years, I swing by and pick you up and take you to the surgical unit at the University Hospital. A team is already prepped and waiting for you to get scrubbed up and to go in and perform brain surgery on some poor soul. You have spent years practicing this…how do you think that thing is going to go?
There is a stark difference between telling and showing. God desires for us to manifest Him to others. In 1 John 4:7-8 He makes it explicitly clear how we can accomplish this: love. There is none more loving than God, and if we would desire to explain this to others, we would do best to show them that love. When we show our love to others, they can be introduced to the One from whom love originates.
Food For Thought: People must hear the gospel in order to be saved, but often our actions or reactions get in the way of our message. How can we love others well?