Most of us who follow Jesus realize that we should love our brothers and sisters in Christ. As you think about this command, what challenges to applying this in everyday life come to mind? How can we prevent the inevitable relational hurts that come to all of us – as we live in community – from developing into animosity, bitterness and even hatred? What counsel does Jesus give to his followers who are at odds with one another? Is the Holy Spirit nudging you to seek reconciliation with anyone?
John tells us that the essence of genuine love is self-sacrifice – exemplified most beautifully by Jesus laying his life down for us. Yet, the illustration John uses to flesh out this truth is fairly mundane – giving of our resources to help someone in financial need. Given the reality that most of us will not be called to heroic martyrdom, what practical steps can you take to truly live for other believers around you? Is it more challenging to daily live for others than to die for them?
A heart of compassion for those in need appears to be vital if we are to love not merely “in word or talk but in deed and truth”. (v.17) Are there any things we can do develop this kind of heart toward others?