“The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.
Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
Beloved, it is a faithful thing you do in all your efforts for these brothers, strangers as they are, who testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey in a manner worthy of God… Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth…
Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good…
Peace be to you. The friends greet you. Greet the friends, each by name.” 3 John 1-6,8,11a,15
John had a special understanding of love- he’d observed and received Jesus’s love first-hand, and had a God-given nature to ponder and process such excellencies. A significant aspect of his ministry was to stir up the implementation of Christian love among the believers. Tucked into his epistles are nuggets of affection that would be received gladly and serve as examples going forth. (John 10:11; 15:13; 19:23-27; 1 John 3:16-18; Revelation 1:5b-6)
Filled with Christ-fueled love, John addressed fellow believers as beloved because that was who they were! Love for them begat prayerful concern for their health of body and soul. It spilled over in joy at their growing faith, and encouragement for their meaningful and sacrificial work among the saints. It necessitated warning and admonition in care for their purity and spiritual protection. And it brought peace and benediction. John was their friend, and not only communicated as such in word and deed, but stoked flames of friendship among the churches. (1 John 3:1)
How about us? Living and breathing love begins with grasping Christ’s love for us. Once we have been captivated by the love of Christ, we are constrained to exhibit and express that love for others. It becomes a palpable part of who we are and how we operate. (2 Corinthians 5:14-20)
What language of love are we using? Do we know others well enough to speak with words they understand and need, with discernment and boldness? What in our actions reminds them they are beloved, and assures them that we love them in and with the truth of God? How intentionally, how well do we care for their condition? Are we quick to meet practical needs and give what it takes to build up their souls? What time and effort do we exert to support, encourage, and even admonish fellow believers for their good? Does being in our presence bring them peace and a sense of being welcomed and blessed by a friend? (Romans 12:9-13,15-18; Colossians 3:12-16)
Learning how to be a loving friend comes from knowing Christ as friend, asking Him to develop that fruit of His Spirit in us, and practicing its outworking. What will we do to greet friends today? (John 15:15; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7,13; Galatians 5:22)
Father God, please so keep me in Your love that I naturally, persistently, bountifully love others with Your grace, to the praise of my Savior. (Jude 21-23)