34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Jesus commanded us to love one another. He told his disciples that love was the mark of a disciple. That distinction, how we love one another, would be how others would know we are followers of Jesus. Think about that. How are you doing at loving people? Would someone identify you as a follower of Christ because of how you love others?
Jesus demonstrated what love looks like. He loved unconditionally. There was no barrier he wouldn’t cross to demonstrate love of another. He ate with the people no one else came near. He touched the untouchable and cared for those that society had rejected. He offered mercy, grace and compassion to all.
This sort of love is not the norm. Society will tell you that you have every right to be selfish and self-serving. But the way of Jesus is not the way of the world. Jesus sacrificed himself to demonstrate the indescribable love he has for each of us. While God is probably not calling you to sacrifice your life, to the point of death, this sort of love does require sacrifice. When we defer our own plans and pleasures to care for the needs of others, we demonstrate this sort of love. When we express kindness and tenderness to people, even when we don’t “feel” like it, we demonstrate love. When we become inclusive rather than exclusive, and welcome people with sincerity and warmth, we show love. When we recognize pain and suffering then offer care and comfort, we love. When we forgive without receiving apology, we love. When we give of ourselves, our time, our resources, we love. Loving people like Jesus did takes tireless, selfless devotion and sacrifice, but it is the greatest calling of someone who loves God. As Jesus says, how we love one another is how everyone will know we are his disciples.
What are some ways you can cultivate love? What relationships do you have that are in need of loving repair? What sacrifice can you make today in the name of love for another?
Holy and loving God, You are the creator of my life. You are my strength and my rock. You are all I need. Today, I give my heart to you as an offering. Take it and shape it to be a heart like yours. Give me eyes to see, ears to hear, and a mind to understand all that you will teach me. Create a hunger in my soul for more and more of you. May nothing else satisfy me more than your love and grace. Give me a spirit of humility. If there is anything in me that keeps me from hearing your voice, reveal it to me. Cleanse my heart and renew the spirit within me. Transform me, Lord. Show me how to live each day in obedience to the Holy Spirit who lives within me. I offer you my entire life, this day and every day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.