Okay, so it’s an imperfect illustration. Jesus doesn’t ask us to love one another to the point of getting cuddly. Neither do my daughters always perfectly embody family-love toward one another. But in this moment, everything before and after faded away. They were sisters, family cuddling up together, a deep sense of hunger being satisfied simply by the close presence of each other.
But Jesus does ask/say something of us as members of the family of God. “..As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” It’s something we can easily lose sight of in the midst of many other efforts to “be the local church”.
There are so many desires we have. We want the music just right, and to fit our personal preferences in style and volume. We want the coffee to have some “ooomph”. We want to point at something our church is doing, and prove to our friends and family who attend other churches that says, “See, we’re a church worth attending!” We want to interact with people who are like us, and who like us. We want to leave feeling encouraged, needed, and like we’ve gotten a good “R.O.I.” (return on investment) from the time we’ve spent there.
The problem is, Jesus never said they will know we’re his disciples by our programs. He doesn’t point to the music we use, the cleanliness of our facilities, the freshness of our donuts, or the dress-code we either live by or avoid.
So the question is – if someone were to visit your church this week, would they know you are disciples of Jesus Christ, simply by the Love being shown? How has “un-love” in the local church impacted your life? How did you respond? We cannot control the actions or words of others, but we can make a huge impact on the church our children will inherit. Will you begin a new movement of God’s Love?
And now for the kicker – what about your home? It begins there. Would someone visiting your home on a given night, know that you are disciples of Jesus, simply by the love that’s being spoken, acted out, and felt in your family’s presence? How can you be a part of increasing the presence of Love in your home?
A good start = 1 John 4:7-8 – A dangerous realization. Love is not simply an emotional feeling meant to warm our hearts. Love is the transforming powerful presence of the Creator God, of whom we have a Holy Fear and Reverence.