John 4:7-8 (Contemporary English Version)
"My dear friends, we must love each other. Love comes from God, and when we love each other, it shows that we have been given new life. We are now God's children, and we know him. God is love, and anyone who doesn't love others has never known him."
Lately I've been curious about some of the Bible translations and versions that I've not seen before - the Contemporary English Version is one of them. At BibleGateway.com, you can read the same verses and passages in just about any translation you want so it makes it easy and at your fingertips to "sample" some. You got me; I'm not a KJV only sort of person.
Okay, enough of the chit chat. This post isn't about the different Bible translations anyway.
Since this is Valentine's Day I thought I should post something about love and what the Bible has to say about it. These verses tell us that God is love and if we fail to show love to others, we fail to show them God. Interesting thought for the many, many bloggers out there who preach through their blog posts but may not always put love into action by ministering to the people in their homes, their churches, their neighborhoods.
Sometimes it's easier to "love" behind a mask or a blog. Nobody knows the real you. You can throw Scripture at folks and hope they'll respond with a "saving prayer." Without true repentance (confession of guilt and a turning away from it), that prayer is a wasted breath.
The truth is that unless you are genuine in your own faith, witnessing to others about that faith with love, you don't really know God, according to the above verses from 1 John. Why would you preach about someone you don't really know? Shouldn't you get to know the One you want everyone else to meet?
I've read too many blog posts from people who've turned away from Jesus simply because too many times they've watched Christians turn their backs on them. It breaks my heart. Be careful - Jesus said, "If you do it to the least of these, you've done it unto me."
Let me encourage you to go beyond promising someone you'll pray. Pray and then follow-up on that prayer. Call him, give him a visit, take him cookies. Clean an elderly widow's house or fix a single mother's car. Volunteer at a homeless shelter. Go to your pastor and ask him for a list of shut-ins who need errands run.
And before you ask: no, I don't believe that the good deeds open Heaven's door for you. It all goes back to repentance and allowing Jesus to wash you clean from your sin. But once He does that, He expects you to do something with your new faith. (Parable of the talents - Matthew 25:13-30) When you do the good deeds, you're using the love Christ gave you and multiplying it for Him by loving others.
Happy Valentine's Day! Go here to read about St. Valentine.