"'So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.'” John 13:34,35 NLT
I think that many of us may have the wrong idea of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. I think we look at things like being a good person, church attendance and participation, scripture reading and other exercises, as the proof that we are Christians. But what about that? Is that right?
Bible study, prayer, service and corporate worship are all good things and may help to facilitate a relationship with Christ. They are not, however, the evidence of a life surrendered to following Christ. Jesus said that the way we loved people would be the proof that He was real and we are following Him. He called us to live lives that loved well.
Let's face it, many times it's easier to engage in the spiritual disciples than love each other. True love starts with receiving God's love for us. Then being able to love ourselves and those around us. Biblical love doesn't mean that I agree with you, like you or have anything in common with you. It means I genuinely love you.
This is how the Bible describes love:
"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand it's own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Genuine love reflects the love that God gives to each of us. It loves people with no strings attached. It is a gift from God to us and we are called to exercise this gift. Those that haven't received Jesus don't care how much time you spend in study and prayer. They want to know if you will love them. Jesus does. What about you?
The saying that a person doesn't care how much you know, until they know how much you care, is true. Jesus said it would be our love that would prove He was the real deal.
Will we love each other--warts and all?