In chapter 54 of The Acts of the Apostles, Ellen White labels John “a faithful witness.” This witness centers on love. Here are a few excerpts:
Christ had bidden the first disciples love one another as He had loved them. Thus they were to bear testimony to the world that Christ was formed within, the hope of glory. (p. 547)
Such a love the believers were ever to cherish…. But gradually a change came. The believers began to look for defects in others. Dwelling upon mistakes, giving place to unkind criticism, they lost sight of the Saviour and His love. They became more strict in regard to outward ceremonies, more particular about the theory than the practice of the faith. In their zeal to condemn others, they overlooked their own errors. They lost the brotherly love that Christ had enjoined, and, saddest of all, they were unconscious of their loss. They did not realize that happiness and joy were going out of their lives… (p. 547-548)
In the church of God today brotherly love is sadly lacking. (p. 550)
Divine love makes its most touching appeals to the heart when it calls upon us to manifest the same tender compassion that Christ manifested. That man only who has unselfish love for his brother has true love for God. (p. 550)
Christian workers who succeed in their efforts must know Christ; and in order to know Him, they must know His love. In heaven their fitness as workers is measured by their ability to love as Christ loved and to work as He worked. “Let us not love in word,” the apostle writes, “but in deed and in truth.” The completeness of Christian character is attained when the impulse to help and bless others springs constantly from within. It is the atmosphere of this love surrounding the soul of the believer that makes him a savor of life unto life and enables God to bless his work. Supreme love for God and unselfish love for one another –this is the best gift that our heavenly Father can bestow. This love is not an impulse, but a divine principle, a permanent power…. In the heart renewed by divine grace, love is the ruling principle of action. It modifies the character, governs the impulses, controls the passions, and ennobles the affections. This love, cherished in the soul, sweetens the life and sheds a refining influence on all around. (p. 551)
- Do I tend to focus more on the theory or practice of my faith? What is the difference? Why does one tend to lead to love and the other often lead to fault-finding?
- How does one foster love? Are there steps or methods to becoming more loving?
- Who is someone you respect as being very loving? What did they do or say that you saw as loving? How did they feed love and starve selfishness?