John 13:35 “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
We have developed lots of ways to let the world know we believe in Jesus. Bumper stickers proclaim our faith. Scripture passages on checks, greeting cards and refrigerator magnets; profile descriptions on Facebook; jewelry with crosses, a fish and WWJD all tell the world we are followers of Jesus. Jesus said there would be another way they would know but this seems a little strange to me. Let me explain.
Jesus says the identification badge that will convince the world that we are His followers is our love for one another. Notice He didn’t say it would be how we love the lost – though certainly other passages say we need to love, pray for and bless them. He said they would know we are His disciples by how we treat other believers. I find that strange but actually quite a relief.
It should be much easier to love other believers than it is to love unbelievers. After all, some of “those people” are actually enemies of the cross. Some might actually hate or despise us for our faith. Some would ridicule or reject any expressions of love. How nice that all we have to do is love one another to demonstrate we are followers of Jesus. That should be easy. Right?
Unfortunately the evidence is that we often don’t even do an excellent job of loving, forgiving, caring for and ministering to each other. From the very start of the church we “bite and devour one another” (Galatians 5:15), “there is jealousy and quarreling among” us (1 Corinthians 3:3) and we are experts at “passing judgment on one another” (Romans 14:13). We say we love everyone but the most basic sign we are His followers is that we simply love other Christians. Let’s at least start there.
Is there something you can do today to demonstrate to the world that you are His disciple?
1 John 3:14
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.