“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” John 13:34-35 The Message
Last week we entertained how we ought to represent Christ. If we call ourselves Christians, that means we want to be Christ-like. How will we know if we are Christ-like, how do we define Christ-like?
John 13: 34-35 paints a very clear, yet overwhelming image: we are to love one another, period.
We might read that and interpret that as we ought to love our family. We ought to love our church. We ought to love a neighbor. We ought to love those who love us. Those who are kind to us.
That’s the easy part.
Loving those who love us.
Verses 34-35 says, “this is how everyone will recognize you are my disciples, when they see the love you have for each other.”
That translates as loving the person who slights, inadvertently or not. Loving the lady who gossips. Loving the neighbor who’s impatient. Loving the driver with road rage. Loving your spouse when she’s not understanding. Loving your spouse when he’s not sensitive. Loving the person before you in the check-out even as his mouth is professing profanity as proper speech for the day.
The point is, some people are easy to love, others are not. To love everyone, we need Christ. We need the love of the Holy Spirit.
Yet, if we are to call ourselves Christians, we must strive to yield our hearts to that type of love. A love defined in I Corinthians 13:4-8,13 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away .
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (NIV)
A love like Christ.
Monday: What is my definition of a Christian?
Tuesday: Do I reflect Christ? (This is a hard one! While we are not called to perfection, what is the state of my heart?)
Wednesday: We all have areas we need to improve. What needs work in order for me to become more Christ-like? (Do I need to surrender my penchant for gossip? Do I need to pray for patience, and then identify what sparks impatience, and how to avoid the situation? Do I need to leave for work ten minutes earlier so I don’t lose my temper and exhibit road rage?)
Thursday: A message preached by Jeff Darby asked a very difficult question based on the reading of John 1:1. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” What if I am the only “Word” or reflection of Christ people every see? Will they glimpse the glory of God? Please view the following video from TobyMac.
Friday: Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, You created me to do good works for You. My title, my salary, my earthly possessions are not a measure of success. Please draw me closer to You, show me what in my life hinders me from coming directly to You, and where I need to work on my heart. Thank you for always loving, always forgiving, and always waiting for me with Your arms wide open. Amen.
Thank you for reading! Please return by Monday, March 24 for the next post!