It is important to notice that there is an “if” involved in John 13:35. Believers can disobey Jesus’ new commandment to love one another. Failure to love does not mean I am not a Christian, but it means the world has the right to make the judgment that I am not a Christian. Therefore, if we expect unbelievers to know that we are Christ’s disciples, we must show the mark. The early church displayed the mark. Tertullian, a church father who wrote a century after the gospel of John was written said that unbelievers saw Christians loving one another and commented, “Behold, how they love one another.”
Even today, nothing so astonishes a fractured world as a community in which radical, faithful, genuine love is shared among its members. There are many places you can go and find communities of shared interest. There are many places you can go to find people just like yourself, who live for sports or music or gardening or politics.
But true agape love is hard to find. Ultimately, it can only be found in the church. Look for love in the right place.
So how can we grow in our love for one another? Here are some practical suggestions.
- Speak well of the church. Strive to always speak well of your church without using “but language.” “I really like my church, but my pastor isn’t very friendly.” “I appreciate the worship at my church, but I don’t like a lot of the songs the worship team picks.” “I like the children’s ministries, but the adult ministries don’t meet my needs.” The simple conjunction “but” cancels out everything positive you’ve said. This is also relevant when discussing other churches in your community. Don’t say, “I really appreciate the church on the west side of town,but they are too charismatic.” “I like the pastor of the church on the east side, but the rest of the other staff pastors are jerks.” If you don’t have anything positive to say, don’t say anything at all.
- The truth is: Every church has its own unique strengths. You and I can always find positive things to say about any Bible-believing, Christ-centered church. So today, commit to only speaking well of the church.
- Learn to express your love to believers. Speak loving and encouraging words to another believer. Look a fellow believer in the eyes and say, “I love you.” Say to a brother or sister, “I care about you,” or “I believe in you.” Reach out and touch someone through appropriate physical touch. Instead of just a handshake, high-five, or chest bump; touch someone’s shoulder, give a half-hug or a full hug. Do a loving action toward someone who has hurt or offended you. This will help free you from the bondage of bitterness. This is the Jesus factor, choosing to bless instead of blister someone who has wounded you.
- Strive to serve other believers. Would you pray that God would burden your heart to serve a brother or sister in your life? What does this person need? Could he or she use free babysitting? Does this person need a piece of furniture that you could provide? Perhaps this person needs a skill-set that you can meet (e.g., home repair, automotive care). Today, will you offer to meet this person’s needs? Will you be Christ’s face, hands, and feet?
– Taken from Keith Krill’s study entitled “Love Power.”
Click here for the full text: http://bible.org/seriespage/love-power-john-1331%E2%80%9338