Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- October 6, 2010
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
What is the Christian brand promise? How do followers of Christ need to be remembered? Jesus spoke very clearly and compellingly when He said love identifies His disciples. Not just any love, but a love that is born from above, a love that is covered with the Lord’s fingerprints. Indeed, Christ’s love expressed by Christians is irresistible.
He didn’t say we might love one another, or we can love one another if we feel like loving. He most emphatically stated, “You must love one another”. Just like the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, Christians have no choice but to love one another. Love the unlovely, love carnal Christians, and love infant and mature Christians alike.
It is love that is expressed in the laboratory of the Christian community to which those outside the faith are attracted. So our salvation in Jesus places us on the stage of love with an audience of unbelievers looking on in wonder. What do they see? Church members who fight or forgive? Christians who sacrifice for each other or who ignore each other? It’s Christians who truly love that learn to honor others above themselves. “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10).
Where does this top grade love reside? It is the work of the Holy Spirit in the human heart. Before our conversion to Christ we were unable to love at the Lord’s high level of expectation. But God’s spirit transforms the Christian’s heart with regular doses of truth, mixed with a humble heart to create a loving believer in Jesus. It is foundational that the first fruit of the Spirit is love, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience…” (Galatians 5:22a). Spirit-filled followers of Christ naturally default to radical love.
Above all else, allow the Lord to love you compassionately and completely. It’s out of your love relationship with Jesus that you have the capacity to love others unconditionally. An unloved soul is unable to love, but the overflow of a loved soul streams into the thirsty hearts of those it encounters. “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul” (Psalm 143:8). The Lover of your soul empowers you to love large for the Lord.
The human heart longs to be loved, really loved. The world wants something to calm its fears, soothe its sorrow and forgive its sins. As the chorus from the old hymn reminds us, “They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love, they will know we are Christians by our love.” The most effective evangelistic strategy is unconditional love.
“Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:8-9).
Do others know I am a Christian by the love I have for others?
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