I had a thought the other day about my faith and those I know. All my family members, my friends and my acquaintances know that I’m a Christian. But I asked myself, “Why do they know?” Do they know because I go to church. Or because I write Christian books. Or because I teach Christian women and men about life issues?
Is it about me or about them?
I don’t think that measures up to what Jesus was talking about when He said, “By this they will know that you are My disciples.”
Going to church, writing books, or teaching Christians life lessons don’t affect those who don’t yet know Christ. Those things are all about me and what I do. Jesus calls us to love others. To express love to people. To be love.
These thoughts stirred my soul and caused me to renew my resolve to “be love” to everyone I encounter. When we’re loving toward others, we are acting like Jesus. We are acting like His disciples.
Now here’s another nuance that can make a big difference in our lives when we intentionally set our objective to love others: the love we express isn’t our love. Instead, we want the love of Christ to be so present in us that His love flows out from us and to those we encounter. It’s His pure love they receive. And that pure love comes from the submitted life of His disciples.
Do they know because they receive love from me?
How do we go about fostering Christ’s love in us? Here are a few steps that keep us walking in His ways so we can be filled with His love.
First: we want to submit ourselves to Christ. A submitted heart is under the influence and direction of our Lord. Paul says, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
When we are fully submitted to Him, our heart is humble and His love permeates our soul. We’re able to love beyond our natural ability because it’s not our love, but instead it’s Christ’s love flowing through us.
Second: we want to be intentional about loving others. In 1 Corinthians 14:1 we’re taught to “make love your aim.” We’re to pursue the act of loving others with the pure love of Christ. That means we learn how to love. We practice how to love. We engage in loving others, just as Christ loves. We are His disciples, which means He is our example and we behave like He behaves.
Third: we are commanded to position loving as our number one priority. Jesus is very clear about love being the top in our lives. He said, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are to love. We’re to love God and we’re to love others. Everything about our faith-driven life starts with love! It’s not about going to church. It’s not about quoting Bible verses. It’s not even about how morally we are living! The first is all about love. There is no other commandment greater than to love God and to love others.
It’s a choice we’re called to make if we truly are followers of Jesus. The Scriptures don’t mince words, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8
Let’s make the godly choice. Let’s love!
Your Turn! Join the conversation! I love hearing from you and so do others. What do you think about loving others? Leave your comments below.