“you are my disciples, if you love one another,” says John 13:35, NIV.
Is loving an intrinsic element of your life of discipleship? The Bible reminds us that your commitment to love – loving your neighbor as you love yourself and loving God with all of your whole beings is an undeniable witness of your true identity as a disciple of Jesus. No other measurements were given except by loving. Jesus asked one of his disciples, Simon Peter, three times, “Do you love me? Peter’s answer was, “Lord, you know that I love you.” In response, Jesus said, “feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17, NIV).
Do your friends and neighbors know you as Christ’s disciple? What daily practices do you keep to grow your love for God and others? What aspects of daily living do you let go or change, no matter how hard it may be, to love your neighbor as you love yourself? The more love you have for yourself, all God’s children, and the whole creation, and God, the more motivated you will be to live out your true identity as Christ’s disciple. An author once said, “once a person believes in a particular aspect of their identity, they are more likely to act in alignment with that belief.” Can this also be true for you as a Christian? Are you living your life in alignment with what you believe in Christ and who you are as a child of God?
Apostle Paul writes, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6-7, NIV). Let us continue to live our lives in the way Jesus lived his life. In and through him, we can follow the way of Jesus’ love. Be mindful that this way of living takes work, not easy. Yet, such a way of living is the best way to manifest God’s care and presence in the world. Ask ourselves, Is there another way to live our life of discipleship but the way of Jesus’ life? What can help you choose the path of love today? What will it take to begin aligning yourself with this way of living today? How about starting with a heart of gratitude for God’s amazing love?
“Love Divine, All Love Excelling”
Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heaven, to earth come down;
fix in us thy humble dwelling;
all thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus thou art all compassion,
pure, unbounded love thou art;
visit us with thy salvation;
enter every trembling heart. Amen.