“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
As Church members and Christians, Jesus commanded that we love one another. That love should be so obvious that ALL will know that we are followers of Jesus. So how do we love one another as Jesus loved us? He set a pretty high standard, right? In His perfect wisdom Jesus already answered that question, He said if you want to follow Him, “deny yourself, pickup your cross, and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24) To deny yourself is the beginning of true discipleship, humbling yourself, not just placing God first but removing the false idols in your life and even removing things that you think you need. In John chapter 13 Jesus washes his disciples feet and says, “If I then, your Lord and Teacher , have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet”, this was the humble love of self-denial that Jesus used to set an example. When you pick up your cross, it is not with the hope of health, wealth, and prosperity. You are bearing the cross of trials, of persecution, of the sword of division. Discipleship comes at the cost of sacrifice. In Matthew chapter 19 Jesus tells the rich man to sell everything he owns and “follow Me”, and the rich man left sorrowful. As Christians we must be prepared to put what we want and need aside; we must sacrifice, and we must submit to Jesus.
The Apostle Paul tells us more on how we as Church members can demonstrate the love of Christ.
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these put-on love, which is the bond of perfection.”
As Church members we must forgive each other. Jesus says in Mark chapter 11 that if you do not forgive others the Father will not forgive you. Do not burden yourself with your sin or hold in your heart strife, anger, and envy because you will not be able to forgive. Jesus forgave, and prayed for the men that tortured and killed Him while they were doing it, and we are to imitate that. It does not matter if you are right or wrong; it does not matter if they started it, be forgiving.
To love one another in the Church is usually easy though because most of us really do love one another. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said to love your enemies and “if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?” You are to love God and to love EVERYONE, and on these two commandments hang all the law and prophets.
How do you demonstrate love to Church members, Christians, strangers, and enemies?
Do you bear the fruit of the Spirit? Go to Galatians 5:22-23 and write down love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control and study them and think about how you demonstrate them in your life. Consider that just by exhibiting these traits how many people could be brought to Jesus.
How many people have you invited to Church, and they say they went once, and they were treated poorly?
To Christians reading this, I hope you go forward and think about how to be a disciple and demonstrate the perfect love of the Savior Jesus Christ. If you are not a Christian or you do not have a Church home, I hope soon to show you that I love you unconditionally just like Jesus does.