God doesn’t want action from you; He wants reaction.
Have you ever thought about that? We spend so much time trying to figure out what God wants us to do that we miss out on the whole point. When we act, it usually involves us trying to figure things out. We come up with ideas, plans, or steps for our actions. But God doesn’t need us to make plans or plot steps. He doesn’t need or want action from us, He wants REACTION.
There are two types of reactions:
- Conscious (intentional)
- Subconscious (instinctive)
What God wants from us is an instinctive reaction. To what?
“We love each other because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19 NLT)
God wants us to simply react to His love for us. Do what He does. Follow His example. React by imitating and responding, doing the same thing He has done for us: simply love.
The hard part is, that means we must love the lovely AND the unlovely. We have to learn to love people at their worst. People we don’t want to love. It’s every bit as hard as it sounds. It’s contradictory to everything we want to do as human beings. But Romans 5:8 says, “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” That means that while we were unlovely to God, at our worst, He loved us enough to sacrifice His Son to die in our place. Our death. So what should our goal be? What response?
We should be so in tune with the love of God that loving others is an instinctive reaction to God’s love for us.
How do we do that? Most of us know or have at least heard John 3:16, which tells us that God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to give up His life for us, which we’ve sadly become numb to because hey, He’s God and that’s what He does, right? But many of us don’t know 1 John 3:16: “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.” Suddenly the spotlight is on us. What does this mean? It means I must put others first. Their needs before mine. Their best interests become mine. I learn to see them through Jesus’ eyes.
The very next verse says, “If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion – how can God’s love be in that person?” In other words, we should do everything we can do – spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically – to meet the real, felt needs of others.
John 13:35 says that’s what will identify us as a follower of Christ. Our love for others will prove that we’re the real deal. Not by our actions, but by our REACTIONS.
I know this isn’t easy and honestly, I’m not good at this. But I’m learning and growing and trying hard to wrap my human mind around this each day, and I’m sharing this with you so we can all hopefully get better at this together, because historically this is one thing Christians have epically failed at and we need to do something about it.
Here are four really simple ways off the very top of my head that you and I can show your reaction to the love of Christ to someone today:
- Pray for someone who has hurt you or caused you pain.
- Send a Facebook message, email, text, letter, card, or whatever you prefer to someone who is struggling to encourage them.
- Find a shelter or community organization to volunteer with.
- Take your next door neighbor a small gift just to show them kindness.
What is your REACTION to the love of God? How will you show others you’re the real deal by loving on them? What ways to show love would you add to the list?