This is the free student devotional for God Is…, Session 2: God Is Loving.
Spend a few moments thinking about the world’s definition of love, an emotion that comes and goes based on circumstances. Thank God for loving you with commitment and enabling you to love others.
Which would you prefer: someone who always talked about how much they loved you or someone who showed you they loved you? Journal your response below.
In Scripture, real love is never just about words; it involves taking action. Read 1 John 3:16-18 in your Bible. How do these verses define love? Underline any words or phrases that point you to the answer.
Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action. —1 John 3:18
• John defined real love by way of example: to give up one’s life for another is the supreme act of love. This type of love is based on the example of Jesus Christ.Describe His example here:
• Why are words alone not enough to express real love?
• What does it mean to love others with truth and action?
You can understand what real love is by looking at Jesus’ example. Real love is not a feeling; it is an action through which you willingly and sacrificially serve others.
Behind the Story
The disciple John probably wrote 1 John between 85-90 A.D. in Ephesus. Probably an old man at the time, John wrote 1 John as a pastoral letter sent to several Gentile congregations. Love is a key theme in the letter, likely written to reassure Christians of their faith and to counter false teachings.
The true test of your love is not your words,but your willingness to sacrifice for the sake of others.
• Meditate on this question: Am I guilty of only speaking love, but not actually showing love?
• Look at verse 17. Who do you know who has need you can meet? What steps will you take to do so this week so that Jesus’ love can be demonstrated through you?
Sometimes, it aids memorization to tie a motion or movement to the phrase. Select key phrases or words in 1 John 4:7-8 and create a hand motion or movement to go with the words as you recite the verses.