By David Lee, BCM/D Executive Director
John wrote to believers in the First Century. He talked about love. He summarized his theology by declaring that God is love.
To reinforce his theological foundation he told them that anyone who says he loves God and does not love people is lying. That is strong language. He concludes with a direct charge to them. “My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love.” (1 John 3:18 The Message)
Let me think out loud with you. I am right now asking myself, what will it look like if I practice real love in my own life? As a blessed person who has found the love of Christ and is loved by others, how can I practice real love with those around me?
How can I be involved with my church in practicing real love? My home church is presently going deeper than ever before in exploring ways to practice real love in our community. Where do I fit in with that effort?
I have moved into a condo complex. At times it feels like I have moved back into a college dorm, except this time I have my wife and live next door to older people like me! How do I practice real love in Jesus’ name in the Gatherings?
I am part of a state convention where we have the opportunity to connect with millions of people in one of the most strategic areas of the world. It amazes me when I pause and think of our potential sphere of influence in this corridor. How can I work with you in practicing real love in Jesus’ name?
I am part of a larger convention that is on record with a challenge to every Southern Baptist to “love loud.” “I” am “they.” The issue here is not what the Convention can do to “love loud” as much as it is “what can I, as a follower of Christ and a Southern Baptist, do to practice real love in Jesus’ name?”
According to Jesus in Acts 1:8, I am not to just focus on my Jerusalem. I am also responsible to practice real love in the Judean regions of our world. I have obligation to practice real love in hard places, the Samarias of our world. I must even play a role in showing real love in Jesus’ name to those who live in the uttermost parts. Where do I go next and how do I do it?
God is love. God loved the world so much that he gave his Son to die for us. Love is what wins us a hearing in the world. Love validates our walk with Jesus. Paul was correct. Without love we are nothing, and what we do is worthless.
In this time of economic uncertainty, moral challenge, and cultural warfare, what must govern what we do as believers, as churches, and as a convention of churches is our commitment to practicing real love in Jesus’ name. For the highest level of impact each of us must lay money, time, experience, and influence on the table. All must be bathed in real love and placed before God to use as He desires and directs.