The gulf between word and deed can be significant. We claim to love something. We say we trust one thing or another. It takes little to no effort to declare that something is important to us.
There is nothing more revealing about our true beliefs and our real priorities than observing what we actually do. Saying is easy. That doesn’t mean it is not important. It is hugely important. Yet, if we don’t follow through, if our actions don’t match what we say, the words are little more than a vapor in the wind.
There is a reason doing is connected to truth in this verse. When we are inconsistent, our lack of action neutralizes our speaking. This verse admonishes us to do what we say and say what we do. If they don’t work in harmony, if one eclipses the other, both are ineffective.
Love is mainly about action. It is a doing. Love is serving the best interest of others. It is acting toward our own best interest, the truest manifestation of who we are.
This requires adopting God’s perspective. Acknowledging truth is an acquired taste for all of us. But while seeing what’s really true might be uncomfortable, nothing is better for us.
We can see in truth and speak in truth only when we love in truth. And love is putting faith into action. Nothing says more about what we believe, what we love, and what we value than what we do. John implores us to be consistent (and true) as we translate our words into action; for this is the true nature of love.
“Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”
– 1 John 3:18