Devotional: Love ~ An Intensely Motional Reflection of God ~ 1 John 3:11-12 (June 5, 2015)

“For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.” ~ 1 John 3:11-12
Explanation of the Text: In the Old Testament, God commanded the people to love one another (Leviticus 19:18). This command never changes across the folds of Scripture, jumping the 400 year old chasm into the New Testament to be reiterated once again from Jesus Christ (John 13:34; 15:12, 17). The concept of loving one another was inculcated into people from creation. It is the hallmark characteristic of the Christian faith. As God loved us through Christ, we too are called to love others through Christ. Our love is made known through our actions, in which we proclaim Jesus Christ both with words and actions as we interact with others.
The antithesis of love is seen through the actions of Cain. The first murder to occur was that between two brothers in which Cain murdered Abel out of spite and jealousy (cf. Genesis 4:1-16). Those who do not love follow the path of Cain and are known to be ones who partake in the work of Satan. Being used as instruments of him, love is not shown through their lifestyles.
John reveals an interesting aspect of the battle between good and evil. He writes that Cain murdered Abel because while his own deeds were evil, Abel’s were righteous. One commentator notes that “those who do not do what is right hate those who do” (1). In doing evil, there is a conviction that comes from those who are doing good, even if they do not say anything. To that end, there comes anger and hatred towards that person.
Examination & Application of the Text: The practical application of this text is easily to love others. Yet, putting that into practice is hard and often we only think of it in superficial terms. The biggest understanding has to come in realizing that “love is more than an emotional thing – it is intensely motional” (2). I find this description to be of importance because of two words. First, it is ‘motional’ meaning that love takes action. It is not merely seen in words, but it is seen through its function in relationship to others, and most importantly in relationship to God. It causes a person to be motivated to help meet the needs, and even the wants of others.
The second aspect is King’s use of the word ‘intensely.’ This brings the action of love to a another level, indicating that it is not a mere passive action that one takes, but it is one done with intentionality and sometimes at a personal cost. Intensely conveys the strength of love and its ability to impact the person being loved.
As we consider our deeds in loving others, perhaps there needs to be thought given to the examination of the depth of that love and how it is truly conveyed. Is it a genuine love born out of love from God and is it conveyed in with the depths of His love?
(1) Karen Jobes, 1, 2, & 3 John, Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014), 155.
(2) Guy H. King, The Fellowship (Edinburgh: Marshall, Morgan & Scott LTD, 1956), 77.

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