01 December 2007

Day 1: Good deeds

1 John 3:16-20

I've been reading the book of 1 John nearly every day for the past month or so, and recently as I was reading, this particular passage stood out to me, and I felt compelled to write about it. I guess it stood out to me because this is the time of year when many people are generously giving to charity as well as giving gifts to loved ones.

Usually about this time of year I'm thinking about what I would give to people if only I had the money, and then I think about what I could possibly make that would be generous as well as affordable... And the more I think about it, the more discouraged I can get!

We have been blessed year after year by family and friends who have given generously to us at Christmas as well as throughout the year. If it weren't for them, Christmas would certainly be a lot more sparse at our house, that's for sure! Not that there's anything wrong with sparse; We try to live by the "less is more" philosophy, and remind ourselves to be content in whatever state we are in (Philippians 4:11-13). At the same time, I've been convicted time and again about my own laziness when it comes to showing thanks and gratitude to those who have been so generous.

That's what stood out to me in the 1 John passage, as it spoke of our heart condemning us. As I re-read verse 18: "Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and in truth," my heart was convicted. I've had people tell me I'm pretty good with words. Those times when I do sit down to write a thank-you note or a note of encouragement, the words come easily, and I find myself pleased with the outcome. I actually get a good feeling from doing it. But usually I let time pass, I keep carrying around the intention to do it, but before I realize it, February is here and already Valentines Day and Julien's birthday packages are arriving!

This passage is really talking more about not "giving lip service" but instead doing things that come from an honest and sincere heart. Although this passage is saying not to love with word or with tongue, I think that the "deed" and the "truth" that I need to love with is exactly that: the deed of using my words to express the true appreciation I have for those who love us so much. I need to be willing to lay down my life so that I can love in the way that the Lord lays on my heart. What exactly that will look like, I don't know, yet. But that's what is on my heart today.

I hope this passage makes you pause and think about the things that you are doing this holiday season (and throughout the year). I hope you find the deeds and truth in which you are to love others this Chirstmas.

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