When we think of love, we tend to think of emotion. Or perhaps we think of words, like telling someone “I love you.” But this verse exhorts us to something greater. The highest form of love involves action. Deeds. Activity. We are exhorted to love “in deed and truth.”
This old saying might fit: “The proof is in the pudding.” You can tell me the pudding is yummy, but I find out the truth of the claim when action occurs – when it is cooked and eaten.
John implores us here to not just say that we love something. But to show it. To have our actions match our words.
A good self-examination exercise is to take inventory of what we are doing, and ask ourselves “What does that say about what I am loving?” Does how I am spending my time reflect who and what I desire to love? Does how I am spending my money (which, like time, is just another tool for reflecting value) reflect what I want to love?
When we love others, we love God. And when we love God we are loving others. But true love requires real deeds. It is not just talked about, but done.