“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us.” (1 John 3:19-20a NIV)
One of the benefits of exercising love by action is losing the excess weight of guilt and condemnation. Physically, adipose tissue inflates under our skin and around our internal organs when our caloric intake far exceeds our caloric output. Activity that increases our heart rates and/or builds muscle mass burns calories and reduces fat. Spiritually, self-condemnation tends to build up around our hearts when our intake of truth far exceeds our application of it.
This is why the Holy Spirit through John exhorts us in this passage to exercise love through action. It reduces the fat of doubt and guilt and increases the muscle mass of our faith. The increase in faith boosts our confidence and effectiveness in prayer (1Jn. 3:21-22). It’s just like reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass boosts our confidence and physical efficiency.
I find the best way to start exercising my body is to just start exercising. The more I think or talk about working out without actually doing it, the more guilty I feel when I pass the gym and the more frustrated I feel when I look in the mirror or have to increase my pant size. The same is true spiritually. The best way to start exercising love is to, as Nike used to say, “Just do it!” When we “do” love and not just think and talk about it we lose guilt and gain confidence.
So, ready to lose some of that excess weight of condemnation from around your heart? Ready to build your faith muscles, gain confidence, and, as a result, get more prayers answered? Me, too! Okay, then, let’s not just talk about the love of Christ, let us “just do it!”
© Paul R Downing