The Bible speaks a lot about love. Love anchors one of the most well-known verses in the Bible; John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. Furthermore, we are actually told in 1 John 4:8: God is love. Love is such an important theme throughout the Bible.
Not only are we told that God is love, but we are also encouraged to love others as believers in Jesus. John 13:34-35: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
By this ALL people will know that you are my disciples. This is a huge calling for each believer. All people, the watching world, your family, friends, work colleagues, those in church and those outside of it, all people will know Christians are the disciples of Jesus Christ because of their love for one another. This in essence, teaches that even a believer’s love for another is in itself a witness to a lost world.
Let me ask you, how are you loving people? Do people know you are a follower of Christ by how you love others? This is a challenge as sometimes others can make it hard to love them, and truth be told, sometimes we ourselves are hard to love!
Regardless of earthly circumstances and even how we are treated at times, Jesus calls us to love others. We are not called to only love when good things happen to us or when people are nice, but also when it is hard and even at times when we are not treated fairly. Of course, we need to use wisdom and remove ourselves from abusive situations, but overall, the great mark of a believer’s life is love.
Paul takes it further for us in Romans 12:9 and makes the plea: Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Jesus sees past the outer actions and examines the inner person, the heart. He can see our motives; He can see every part of us and yet, beautifully, He invites us afresh right now to be filled with His pure overwhelming, unfailing and overflowing love. It’s this regular encounter with this love that enables His people to pour out love on others.
Genuine love for others on a consistent basis is the goal, and God is the source. Let love be genuine. Let’s pray.
Heavenly Father, we love You because You first loved us. Thank You for not leaving us abandoned and forsaken, but for demonstrating Your great love, that whilst we were sinners, You died for us. What love, what grace, what mercy, what a Saviour You are! Lord, may we encounter Your love afresh today. Help us live in it, guide us to live through it and enable us and place us in situations where we may pour out Your love on those we meet. Let us be known as Your disciples by our love for one another. Amen.