Two Ways to Get It Wrong
When John says, “Little children, let us not love in word or tongue but in deed and in truth,” he does not diminish the reality or frequency or importance of loving with our words. In fact, even though the most dramatic and decisive expression of love may be the deep sacrifices we make for those we love, two things remain true.
The need to love in deed does not diminish the importance of loving with our words. Tweet
One is that there are sacrifices which have ulterior motives and are not real love (“Though I give my body to be burned …”). Love is not identical to deeds. Ever. It is always “in” the deeds, or not.
The other is, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). Therefore, the most frequent witness to the love of our hearts is what comes out of our mouths. In this sense our words are deeds. And God knows when they are true.
But let us never treat the mouth-deed or the hand-deed with neglect, or preference. Many fail as lovers by thinking they can replace words with deeds. And many fail, thinking words are enough. Rather let us always think: Both! Both word and work! Mouth-work and hand-work! Both!
“Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Colossians 3:17)
“I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed.” (Romans 15:18)