December 18

1 John 3:14-16 14We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him. 16This 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.

To John the Beloved it was just as simple as that. If you are in Jesus, you love your brothers. If you didn't love your brothers, you have never found life in Christ. Your spirit is still dead. John remembered Jesus' words from the Sermon on the Mount. Hatred is the equivalent of murder (Matthew 5:21-22). How can you be a murderer and be in life? To be in Christ brings the very life of Christ into your emotions and desires.

Since God is love, Jesus demonstrated the ultimate display of love. He laid down His life for us. Jesus said that was the greatest love a man could display (John 15:13), and then He displayed it for all of us. If the life of Christ is in us, then we will do as Christ did and lay down our lives for our brothers. How can we hold back when our Lord and Master is urging us on with both His example and His presence in us?

John went on to describe ways in which we can demonstrate this love. He wrote of sharing material possessions with our brothers in need. He reminded us that words are not enough. Actions must accompany our caring words, or they are meaningless.

Consider: Have you passed from death to life? Is it manifested in the sharing of your material goods with your brothers in need? In this day and age we can do that with brothers and sisters around the world through Christian ministries, but don't forget your own backyard as well.