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Love Sees and Acts on Needs

Love is not only supreme, it sees needs—love provides.

We’ve been studying the book of 1 John. It’s a book that doesn’t allow for compromise. John is upset that the church is falling into some dangerous traps and he’s writing a warning letter. He’s seeing an infection of bad doctrine from false teachings and it has made these relatively new Christians unable to love. They have become interested in the secrets and slogans to know and say. They have fallen in the trap of “religion” and they have moved away from the relationship with Jesus Christ that is to be lived in and lived out.

John writes in 1 John 3:17–19 and tells his church, and our church, that love sees needs and provides. He is saying that love is other-centered, it looks around for where it can help. Love is expressed and it’s actively demonstrated.

In these verses John uses a very special word—abide. He asks the question, “Whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in Him?” One translation substitutes the word “dwelleth” for abide, another replaces “abide” with the phrase “live and remain.” Whichever version of the Bible you are reading, abide is a very special word.

According to Strong’s Concordance abide literally means, “to remain in residence.” The connotation is that something (for believers, God’s love) takes up residence in us and remains in residence (it’s not a one-time, jolt of emotion).

John, in his black-and-white, no-compromise way is saying, “Listen, how can you say that God’s love is in residence inside you when you neglect people’s needs? It doesn’t work that way!”

Pastor Lloyd Ogilvie wrote, “Because of Christ’s journey upon the very roadway that we live upon, then we too must live our lives within that same roadway where the people are, where the ethical issues become relevant and where we meet brothers and sisters who need our love.”[1]

Friends, If we say that we love God and we’re experiencing this initiating, sacrificial, other-centered, need-meeting kind of love, and then we see a person that needs to be touched by grace and by compassion, and go our way, John forcefully reminds us that love doesn’t do that. Love gets involved. Love sees the need. Love doesn’t close down its heart and compassion.

John lets us know that if we’re believers and God’s love abides in us, then we just can’t talk about love, we have to love in deed. We must freely express the love that’s so freely given to us. We are literally an extension of God’s love.

We Christians need to show the love that abides in us. We need to act, in love to strangers, people who are hurting and who need unconditional, sacrificial love. This must be part of our spiritual DNA because it is part of our spiritual DNA. It defines who we are and it shows us what we need to do.

Are you ready to take love to the next level?


[1] Palmer, E. F., & Ogilvie, L. J. (1982). Vol. 35: 1, 2 & 3 John / Revelation. The Preacher’s Commentary Series (53). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.

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