1 John 3: 18 – 20 (NKJV) My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 19 And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. 20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.
The only real power the Devil has over us is lies and fear. Often we listen to his lies about how pathetic we are, how we’ve done this or that or, worse, how we just don’t measure up to what someone else is doing in their family or their church. We join into this lie with self-criticism and the temptation to quit even trying to live a life pleasing to God. But notice how practicing real love results in two things: assurance that we really do belong to God and this practice defeats our tendency, magnified by our self-criticism, toward apathy. When I feel like maybe God is just “done” with me and when I feel reminded of my many, many faults I need to remind myself (and the Devil) that the Bible says: “I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me”. And then, to further defeat this depressing, heavy feeling I need to get busy in the service of other folks. The love spoken of in this verse is a practical, hands-on effort toward seeking the highest and best interest of others, even at our own expense. When you volunteer in the children’s ministry, take food to a sick person, take time out to pray with a hurting friend or get involved as an usher, with a sincere heart that is not self-seeking (that’s REAL love), then God WILL begin to speak assurance into your heart.