Love, Action, and Authority
Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.
2 John 1:6 NLT
In mainstream American culture, it is increasingly rare to see the words “love, action, and authority” in the same sentence. Somewhere along the line the underlying view of authority became associated more with power than with love.
Often in the public eye, what gets attention is activism, not action. There seems to be more interest in pursuing a cause without the diligent and thoughtful work of taking action in ways that address issues.
Love continues to be valued and misunderstood at the same time. It is valued because there is a universal longing to be loved and to give love. It is misunderstood because of the excessive focus on self satisfaction, turning the idea of love into something selfish.
John the Elder, as he refers to himself in 2 John 1:6, reminds us of the beautiful relationships between love, action and authority:
- Authority: God commands us in several places in scripture to love each other. The word “command” is strong. In military terms, it is an order meant to be obeyed. Many people react harshly to being told what to do. Often with push back. Truth is regularly rejected because of the tone of authority.
With God, His authority is always for good. His commands can be trusted. God’s ways produce blessing, help, and healthy relationships in life. God spoke (you could say commanded) all of creation into being. “God’s will is the best thing that can happen to us under any circumstances.” (Discerning God’s Will Together by Danny Morris and Charles Olsen)
- Action: “Love means doing what God has commanded us…”. Love is not passive, it is active. Expressing God’s love involves acting on, or, living out His commands which positively effects the lives of others. Saying “I love you” is only understood and valued when the actions of one’s life match up with the words they speak. Love is interpreted best through actions.
- Love: The apostle Paul writes of the significance of love. It is valued as greater than faith and hope. When faith and hope seem lost, love holds on. God commands us to love each other. Loving each other every day is a real challenge. We all have so many things that can annoy us, it is easy to justify being mean or hurtful.
Think about God’s loving approach to humanity. God is so patient. Jesus doesn’t want anyone to be separated from God. Grace and forgiveness overwrites deserved judgement and condemnation. God loves us.
God has been disrespected and shunned in every way imaginable, yet He draws closer. People ignore His commands. God sends His Son, Jesus Christ. Even followers of Jesus are often casual and reckless with the grace and mercy God gives. God’s love sends the Holy Spirit to guide, convict, and remind followers of Jesus about what it means to live out God’s love in this world.
God loves us. His love is always shown through His actions. Bob Goff sums it up in His book titled Love Does.
Authority, Action, and Love are inseparable for those following God.
Encouragement: Lean into God’s authority. It is only for your good and benefit. Express love through actions with each other. When tempted to be hurtful, lean into God’s commands and love generously through your actions.
Prayer: Dear Father God, thank You for Your authority in my life. Your authority has no corruption. Your authority is good. I never have to question Your motives behind Your commands. I can always trust Your mandates in my life. Thank you for the command to love each other through our actions always. Thank You for sending Jesus to provide forgiveness and grace as an act of love. Thank You for sending the Holy Spirit to remind us to live a life of love, as You have directed.
In Jesus name,
-Ed McDowell, Executive Director
Warm Beach Camp and Conference Center