Whoever loves God must love his brother. 1 John 4:21
When reading about love in the scriptures, it is clear that love is not just a one-way street. God loves us and for those of us who follow Jesus, we confess our love to God. John in his letter describes that God is love (1 John 4:16). Because God is love, He demonstrated His love through giving us the gift of salvation through His one and only Son that we may know and feel love.
In this same letter, John then challenges the reader with the thought that to love God and hate a brother makes them a liar. It makes sense when he add the question “whoever does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” 1 John 4:20
We are taught that loving God cannot happen without loving a brother or a neighbour. The two are together as Jesus said through what we know as the Great Commandment – to love God and love your neighbour as yourself. These words then challenge the idea that our spiritual life of loving God will struggle to exist without love to people who are around us and who we can see.
Helping people is an open and practical expression of loving God and those around us. This love is described to be “in a social or moral sense”; it displays an attitude that we have an interest in helping people no matter who they are or what they have done. Because we love God so we love them.
A day is coming when all of us will be standing before the great throne or judgement seat. Jesus describes this as a shepherd separating sheep from goats and as those who will inherit the Kingdom or eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For those who inherit the Kingdom He lists what they have done to receive such a great reward of eternal life.
Reading through the list I am surprised to see that the specific mention of a good committed Spiritual Life of prayer, fasting and reading is missing. What the King is looking for: is if we have fulfilled what we have been called to do – helping people. Because the King said “Truly, I say to you, as you have done it for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you have done it for Me.” Matthew 25:40.
Helping people is best served through our love and commitment to God and is expressed through practical ways of helping the need of a person. Loving God is loving people and the two cannot be separated as this is who God desires us to be.
“Listen, my beloved brothers. Has not God chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He has promised to those who love Him?” James 2:5
Today in your prayer time, tell God how much you love Him and make a commitment to Him, by telling Him you will love people and help them no matter who they are or what they have done.
Helping people is not always an easy thing to do as it usually is messy and requires time and effort. Mostly, it will seem to be an inconvenience, but if we are serious about our spiritual lives and loving God, these things should not matter, because people are important to God and must be important to us.
Our response to helping people should be more than just relief of food and clothing or any other material thing. It’s also sharing God’s love and showing them that their greatest need is to inherit the Kingdom. Everyone is invited to receive this gift of salvation and the way to get it is loving God.
You can make a difference through helping people.