"Do I love?"

In the 1940s, Fred Craddock began serving as a missionary to India. When World War II ended, Craddock's church wired him funds for a steamer ticket to return home. Arriving in his port of departure on Christmas day, Craddock discovered a disturbing sight. A ship of German-Jewish refugees had been allowed to temporarily dock, and these exiles had been stuffed in small spaces with no human comforts. Craddock used his money to buy pastries for as many as he could. When he informed his church, they asked, "Don't you know they don't believe in Jesus?" "Yes," Craddock replied. "But I do."

When we believe in Jesus, our world becomes radically reordered. For we are infused with the Spirit of the living Jesus, and our heart and eyes and hopes are (if we will allow them to be) freshly attuned to seeing our world the way God sees it.

If we're curious to know whether or not our faith is growing . . . if we're curious to know whether or not our actions are becoming more Jesus-like, if we're curious to know if in fact we "know God," we must answer this: Do we love? "Anyone who loves . . . knows God" (1 John 4:7).

It's rare these days to come upon an unequivocal answer, a black-and-white, right-or-wrong way forward. But in 1 John 4 we have an acid test. If you truly love, you know God. If you do not truly love, you do not know God. Period.

When a friend leaves me feeling lonely, when my father walks away from my family, when I encounter another's need, in these moments, do I love? And this love isn't simply an act of mustering up some inner reservoir of goodwill. To truly love is to give away what God has generously given to us. , Winn Collier, Our Daily Journey

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