Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com/
1 John 3:16-18 (NIV)
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
1 John 4:19-21 (NIV)
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
Does it seem odd that God commands us to love? This is contrary to all of the messages we get in television and movies, which teach that love is a feeling that we don’t have control over. But God’s love has little to do with our feelings; it is a strong action. Jesus’ disciple, John, wanted us to be sure to understand this, so that we didn’t fool ourselves into thinking we are right with God just because we have warm feelings about God. In clear and sobering words, John explains that if we don’t have loving actions toward all other people (who are also God’s children, which means they are our ‘brothers and sisters’), then we are in truth hating God (no matter how warm and cozy our feelings about God are). Pray for God to keep turning your eyes to how Jesus not only has nice feelings about you, but that at great cost he served you. Then think of a person whom you are reluctant to do good things for, and ask for the grace to treat them with loving actions.