Pictures of Love
I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 2 John 1:5
My children and I have started a new daily practice. Every night at bedtime, we gather colored pencils and light a candle. Asking God to light our way, we get out our journals and draw or write answers to two questions: When did I show love today? and When did I withhold love today?
Loving our neighbors has been an important part of the Christian life “from the beginning” (2 John 1:5). That’s what John writes in his second letter to his congregation, asking them to love one another in obedience to God (2 John 1:5–6). Love is one of John’s favorite topics throughout his letters. He says that practicing real love is one way to know that we “belong to the truth,” that we’re living in God’s presence (1 John 3:18–19). When my kids and I reflect, we find that in our lives love takes shape in simple actions: sharing an umbrella, encouraging someone who is sad, or cooking a favorite meal. The moments when we’re withholding love are equally practical: we gossip, refuse to share, or satisfy our own desires without thinking of others’ needs.
Paying attention each night helps us be more aware each day, more tuned in to what the Spirit might be showing us as we walk through our lives. With the Spirit’s help, we’re learning to walk in love (2 John 1:6).
Lord, let us not love just in words, but in actions and in truth. Teach us to be obedient to Your call to love.
Love is a prominent theme in the apostle John’s writings. In today’s reading (2 John 1:1–6) John writes: “It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us” (v. 4). Just as caring parents delight in the development of the gifts and character of their children, John had a father’s pride in those who walked in love. It is interesting to contemplate what John means by “walk in love” (v. 6). The Greek word translated “walk” can also mean a consistency one exhibits in speech, attitudes, and behavior. It’s clear that we’re being told to make sure the words we say, the attitudes we have toward others, and our general behavior be characterized by sensitivity and generosity. Of course, the ultimate example of love is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself (1 John 4:10). We love others because Christ first loved us.