February 7

Loving the Church, Part 2

John 13:35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The verse that follows the command to love (John 13:34) gives us one of many reasons to do so. The Lord has created reality in such a way that our genuine, heartfelt love for our Christian brothers and sisters helps others to see that we are disciples of Jesus Christ. We can argue about that, or strive to try and figure it out. Don’t bother. That’s the way He’s made it, and He has graciously told us so. Let’s just give ourselves over to that glorious truth.

Perhaps you don’t feel that you are particularly strong at evangelism. Putting those thoughts and struggles aside for the moment, one thing we can all do to share Jesus with others is to love His people. There is something about the love among Christians that shows Jesus to the world.

When we don’t show love to other Christians, or we score points off other believers when they’re wrong, we sometimes think we make ourselves, or even God, look better. Sometimes we do it to show that we’re not like other Christians. That might seem to make sense at the moment, but it’s a trick of the enemy to divide us and compromise the gospel at the same time.

The stronger witness is to admit where something might be wrong, and stay in a spirit of love. That can be difficult, but it’s helpful to remember how much the devil hates Christian unity, and that he’ll do anything to divide us. [He hates the math: If one can put a thousand to flight, and two, ten thousand (Deuteronomy 32:30), then we can see the demonic investment in keeping us from being united and expressing His love.]

We may have to do some dying to self to get there, but breaking through to love is powerful. Expressing genuine, even sacrificial, love for brothers and sisters shows the world to Whom we belong. How wonderful that obeying His command to love can lead to such life for others!

Prayer: Father, help me to love those that are in my spiritual family, locally and over the world. Help me to discover how to express Your love when Your people act in ways that initially make it hard for me to do that. Thank you that your command to love isn’t restricted by anyone’s behavior.

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