1 John 3:16-22
16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. 19 We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him 20 in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; 22 and whatever we ask we receive from Him because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.
The test of love is real, the proof of reality is having a love that looks like His. John asserts that as Christ laid down His life for the brethren we ought to do the same. If we have something a brother needs (especially an extra supply of it) and we say, “No, not at this time.” That’s not really the love of God flowing through us, is it? John says, “Not so much – Let’s not love with word or tongue, but in deed and truth”.
This is where reality comes in. If we have a faith of words only, it’s not going to be nearly as easy to validate because having faced a brother in need, we copped out, turned our heart away, and went on as nothing happened. If instead we looked into the need, found out how we can help, then wrote the check, we realize we are in and of the truth, and we will assure our heart before Him. This act of love along with words of love add up to confidence because reality has canceled guilt feelings, and our prayer life is strengthened in the reality of faith and whatever we ask we receive from Him because we keep His commandments and do what pleases Him.
God knows everything, especially our heart and if our walk before Him takes away condemnation, we have confidence and we move about in reality – the place where everything adds up.