“By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:35
Many see the world as becoming more divisive and hate filled, and while that is not the world that God created, he did give us an answer to the way things appear to be headed. There is a way to make a difference.
How is the world going to know that Jesus really makes a difference? How is the unbeliever going to know that this faith called “Christianity” is real? It won’t be by how much we say that we love God or even by how much we say that we love Jesus. Those are just words. Jesus said the way you can have a magnetic faith that draws people to you, and to Christ, is by the way you love others.
The world is not going to know that we are followers of Jesus because of a bumper sticker on our car, or a lapel pin on our coat, or a cross around our neck. They are going to know it and believe it when they see us loving each other in a way they are not loved by the outside world.
How do you know from just looking at someone on the outside that they are a follower of Jesus? Many of us were raised to believe that if a person didn’t drink, smoke, go to bars or do X, Y, or Z that would be the way people would know he was a Christian. That is not what Jesus taught.
The world will be a lot more persuaded by what we do in love for each other than by what we choose not to do by ourselves. Love can be adopting one of the millions of orphans in the world that have no one to love them. Love could be taking just what we spend on ice cream and helping to save the millions of people who die every year from malaria, or giving fresh water to the 3 billion people who don’t have it. Love can be visiting the sick and feeding the hungry and clothing the poor.
The ways and opportunities to love like Jesus are endless. The problem is not lack of opportunity, but lack of willingness to be obedient to Christ’s command. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” John 13:34. Obedience to this command is how others will be drawn to Jesus. It is not our job to save anyone, but to love everyone. We are servants, not saviors. As we walk in obedience to Christ’s command, He will use our lives to draw people to Himself. What greater purpose could my life serve than this?
The writer is the pastor at Jackson Center United Methodist Church.