Crashing Cymbals and Clanging Gongs

1 John 3:16-18 (NIV)
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.
We’re quite familiar with John 3:16.  But what about 1 John 3:16?  It is a verse that is just as powerful!  Both verses teach us that God is a God of love in action.  Since God is a God of love in action, so should we, His children, put love into action.  Jesus put love into action by laying down His life for us.  The Greek word can mean to lay a foundation as well as to lay down one’s life as a sacrifice.  Jesus not only laid down His life, but He laid a foundation of faith and love in action upon which we can build our lives.
John makes it very practical for Christians.  If you have been blessed with an abundance of material possessions and you have a brother or sister in need, do something about it!  God’s love in action must lead us to put love into action as well.  You can’t trim your cable plan down a little bit to save a few bucks to sponsor a needy child?  You can’t cut $100.00 a year out of your clothes budget to send to a missionary?  You can’t give up one or two lattes a week to help a struggling family in your church?  You can’t or you won’t?  It’s not a reflection on God’s blessings in your life.  It is a reflection of God’s love in your life.  
Do you realize how much God loves you?  Is His love in you at all?  We can talk a good game about loving God and loving people, but if we won’t put our faith in action, we’re just a crashing cymbal or clanging gong.  We can say that we love God, but if we don’t show it, we’re just crashing away.  We can say that we love people, but if we don’t show it, we’re just clanging away on our gongs.  Put down your cymbals and gongs and instead, pick a brother or sister up and love them with actions and not just words.
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, I need Your love in my life to spill over into the lives of others.  Help me to see the needs of my brothers and sisters in Christ.  Help me to have the courage and boldness in love to do something about them.  Help me to live a life of sacrificial love like Jesus.  Amen.

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