How Will They Know We Are Christians?
“Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.” –Francis of Assisi
People speak of love as something we’re passive to—it just comes over us. We’re moving through life when all of a sudden, unaware, we fall in love—sort of like someone walking along a road might fall into a ditch. Boom! Just happened. “Whoa! How did I get here?”
Love is often expressed as if it’s a feeling. You’ve heard someone say, “It’s like butterflies in my tummy.” Is that love … or gas?
Something we’re passive to; a feeling that comes and goes—this is a faulty definition of love. It’s not love as God defines it.
Jesus commands us to love one another (John 13:34). We’re commanded to love our neighbors (Matthew 22:39). We’re even commanded to love our enemies (Luke 6:27)!
Those commands are impossible to follow by the world’s capricious definition of love. But by God’s definition, love is a decision you make; it’s action you take; it’s a commitment you embody.
By God’s definition, “Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8).
God did more than define love; He demonstrated it. The Bible declares, “God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
There’s a great picture of a father’s love in the parable of the prodigal son. The son demands his inheritance early to declare his independence, to go off and live life his own way. The father lets him leave. In time, the son realizes the folly of his choice and sets out for home, broken and dejected.
Here’s the rest of the story: “But while [the son] was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion” (Luke 15:20).
This means that the father was looking—longing—for his beloved child to appear on the horizon, to come home. He was waiting expectantly. That’s love. There’s nothing fickle or passive about it!
How do I know I’ve passed from death to life?
There was that time I came forward at church … the time I said the sinner’s prayer … the time I was baptized … All well and good, but here’s a real litmus: Do I love others? “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death” (1 John 3:14).
How will others know I’m a Christian? “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).
Love is all-important!
My prayer for the week – Father, I acknowledge my love falls short. Would you teach me more of your love? May the Holy Spirit, who has poured your love into my heart, help me to extend selfless love to others.