Today I want to draw your attention to 1 John 3:18
New Living Translation
Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other;
let us show the truth by our actions.
English Standard Version
Little children, let us not love in word or talk
but in deed and in truth.
Berean Study Bible
Little children, let us love not in word and speech,
but in action and truth.
Berean Literal Bible
Little children, we should love not in word, nor in tongue,
but in action and in truth.
(In Greek it literally says “WITH word” and “WITH tongue”, but “IN deed” and “IN truth.”)
Little children (believers, dear ones), let us not love [merely in theory] with word or with tongue [giving lip service to compassion], but in action and in truth [in practice and in sincerity, because practical acts of love are more than words].
Now let us read this in context:
… ¹⁷If anyone with earthly possessions sees his brother in need, but withholds his compassion from him, how can the love of God abide in him? ¹⁸Little children, let us love not in word and speech, but in action and truth. ¹⁹And by this we will know that we belong to the truth, and will assure our hearts in His presence. … (Berean Study Bible)
Now we must not only talk, or think about what we can do, or could have done, but come into action!
Think about these words of C. H. Spurgeon
When you see a plan in an architect’s office that is very new and very pretty to look at, you say, “Ah! nothing has been done with it.”
But when you see a plan that is smudgy, and torn, and almost broken through where it has been folded, you know that the man has done something with it.
Now, do not fall in love with the plan, and think it is very pretty, but never carry it out.
When Dr. Guthrie wanted his ragged schools founded, he called on a certain minister, who said, “Well you know, Mr. Guthrie, there is nothing very new in your scheme; I and Mr. So-and-so have been thinking over a similar plan to yours for the last twenty years.”
“Oh! yes,” said Dr. Guthrie, “I dare say; but you have never carried it out.”
So some people are always thinking over some very fine plan of their own; but while the grass grows the steed starves.
When the venerable John could no longer walk to the meetings of the Church but was borne there by his followers, he always uttered the same address to the Church.
He reminded them of that one commandment which he had received from Christ Himself, as comprising all the rest, and forming the distinction of the new covenant:
“My little children, love one another.”
When the brethren present, wearied of hearing the same thing so often, asked why he always repeated the same thing, he replied: “Because it is the commandment of the Lord, and if this one thing be attained, it is enough”.
It is a vain thing to make verbal pretences of love, without any real proof of it.