By Christine Perry
“By this, all will know that you are My disciples if you love one another.” – John 13:35 NKJV.
Someone once said, “It’s easy to be holy when you are alone.” Being surrounded by people who rub us the wrong way or have a different perspective exposes our sinful nature. Yet, if we say we are followers of Jesus, we should love one another. The one another here speaks for our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says,
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.”
I heard one pastor refer to this passage as Jesus’ resume. For humans, this is an impossible standard to follow. We do not have the capacity for this kind of love. 1 John 4:19 says,
“We love Him because He first loved us.”
We only have an understanding of love because Jesus loved us first. Without his example, we would not understand how to love because God is love, according to 1 John 4:8. John followed up these truths by saying, in verse 20,
“If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?”
If we withhold forgiveness toward another believer or only seek relationships for what we can gain or get from them, we don’t love our brother or sister.
Intersecting Life and Faith:
If we are being honest, we are selfish individuals. If you don’t believe me, try this test. The next time you converse with someone, ask yourself, am I listening to them, or am I only listening so I can say what I want to say next? Or when you ask someone how they are doing, do you want to know? Or are you asking just because you want them to ask you in return? We are all guilty of this.
Another test you can try is when you go to church, do you go with the mentality to serve or get? Did you read your Bible before church so you have something to share in your small group? Did you pray for the pastor on the way there? If we are to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, He came to serve and not be served (Mark 10:45). Ironically, ten verses before this, James and John tell Jesus,
“Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.”
Isn’t this us daily? How often do we ask the Lord, “What would You like me to do today?” We say, “Lord, bless me as I do this or that.” Additionally, how often do we pray for ourselves instead of others? When did you last pray with as much passion for your brothers or sisters’ concern as you did for your own? I want to challenge you to pray and ask God to help you love Him more. Ask Him to help you understand His love so that You can then live out of that love and pour yourselves out for the sake of your brothers and sisters.
I can guarantee you that you won’t have to look long or hard to find a brother or sister in need. If you are at a local church and in a small group, you’ll hear people asking for prayer for their loved ones or situations. Do you pray earnestly for them? Do you pray for their sickness as if it were your own? Do you pray for their unsaved family member like it was your family member? Do you help them when they have an issue? Let’s ask God to increase our love for Him and our love for our brothers and sisters so that the world will know we are His disciples.
Christine is just a lady who was given the gift of being raised in an incredible family. For reasons unknown to her, God has blessed her with an amazing life full of beautiful friendships, remarkable experiences, and a love from Him that is completely underserved. She desires to encourage others and share hope as we journey through the highs and lows of life. Christine is the author of How I Met Peace and For the Weary Life Traveler, a 31-day devotional.