1 John chapter 3

The Proof Is In the Pudding

“Dear children, let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions. – Vs 18 NLT

My wife loves it when I say, “I love you!” But she loves it even more when I show here how much I love her with actions that express my love for her. If all I ever did was express my love in words, but never backed it up with tangible, heart-felt acts of kindness and love, she would begin to question the truth behind my words. With that in mind, today’s blog is like a part two of yesterday’s blog, “Talk Is Cheap.” John seems to be the same basic thought by continuing to stress love in action. Our lives are to be characterized by Christ-likeness. We are to live in purity and sinlessness, so much so that we stand out as children of God, rather than children of the devil (Vs 10). One of the ways we express our Christ-likeness is through our love for one another. John reminds them: “This is the message we have heard from the beginning: We should love one another” (Vs 11 NLT). Our love for one another is proof or evidence that we are in Christ and have His Spirit living within us. “If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to eternal life. But a person who has no love is still dead” (Vs 14 NLT). What kind of love are we talking about? Is it a sentimental, Hallmark Card kind of love expressed only in words? No. John makes it clear that the kind of love he is talking about is the kind of love that Christ showed to us. “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” (Vs 16 NLT).

You see, real love is tangible. It is measurable. The proof is in the pudding as the old saying goes. In fact, the original phrase was “the proof of the pudding is in the eating.” It meant that the true value or quality of something can only be judged when it is put to use. In other words, results are what counts. Isn’t that what John is saying? “Let us stop just saying we love each other; let us really show it by our actions” (Vs 18 NLT). What are the results of our so-called love for one another? Is the abiding love of Christ in us showing up in abiding love for others? Do we love as He loved?

“And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us” (Vs 23 NLT).

Father, You have expressed Your love for me by sending Your own Son to die in my place for my sins. You continue to show Your love to me every day by continuing to shower me with Your grace and mercy when what I really deserve is Your wrath and justice. Yet I find it hard to love others. I can mouth the words and claim to love them, but so often fail to back it up with actions. Your Son showed His love by dying for me. The first step in learning to love others more is for me to learn to die to myself. To give up my rights, my will, and my own comfort for the good of others. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men