Test Strip for the Heart

To check the chlorine levels of our hot tub, I dip a small test strip into the water. The chlorine in the water reacts with the chemical on the test strip, changing the color of the test patch from white to purple. The deeper the color, the higher the level of chlorine. The test is visible proof of the "invisible" condition of the water. Without it, it would be very difficult to determine how much chlorine the water contains.
1 John 4:19-21 provides a "test strip" we can dip into our hearts to determine the extent to which they are filled with love for God. The indicator doesn't rely on how long and how often we pray, how regularly we go to church, how passionately we worship, how careful we are to do our devotions, or how much money we give. According to the beloved disciple John, the true indicator of the extent of our love for God is the extent of our love for those around us ... especially the individuals who really irk us.

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother (1 John 4:19-21, ESV).

John is saying that the visible indicator of how much we love God is how much we love the people in our lives. Ouch. Does that convict you as much as it convicts me?
If you were to use the 1 John 4:19-21 test strip to measure your love for the unlovable people in your life, would the color on the indicator strip be weak and pale? Or strong and vibrant? How do you feel about this test being the true indicator of your love for God?
Here's a suggestion for you: Why don't you pray and ask the Holy Spirit to flood your heart with supernatural love for someone you consider unlovable? You may need to make it a week-long, month-long, or even year-long project to pray for your love to increase. And you may need to deal with the sin of bitterness and unforgiveness in your own heart. But don't give up.  The Lord has not given you a spirit of timidity, but of power, and love, and self control (2 Tim. 1:7). As you rely on Him, your love for the unlovable people in your life will increase ... and the color on that test strip will get stronger and more vibrant.

About the Author

Mary Kassian

Mary Kassian

Mary Kassian is an award-winning author, an internationally renowned speaker, and a frequent guest on Revive Our Hearts. She has written more than a dozen books and Bible studies including Conversation Peace and The Right Kind of Strong. … read more …

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