The Identity of the Christian
John 13:35 NKJV “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Before Jesus departure from the earth, He taught His disciples that men would identify them as His by their love. Not by their evangelism, miracles or doctrinal articulation. While these are very important, they must spring from a heart of love. The Bible in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 reveals that spiritual displays and activities without love mean nothing.
The love of God (agape) is not a strong emotional feeling or expression of goodwill; rather it is the essence of God’s nature. It is not an act of God but it is God personified. It is from this nature, agape, that God’s act of grace, mercy and justice proceeds. 1 John 4:8 says, “God is love.” Every Christian is born of God’s Spirit, and shares this divine nature of love with God (1 John 5:1). Romans 5:5 goes on to declare that the love of God has been poured out in the hearts of Christian’s by the Holy Spirit. This means that every Christian has the capacity to love like God loves.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 gives an outline of the God kind of love; it never gives up, cares more for others than for self, doesn’t want what it doesn’t have, doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, and it doesn’t force itself on others. Love isn’t always “me first,” doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, and doesn’t revel when others grovel. Love takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, it puts up with anything, trusts God always, it always looks for the best, and it never looks back, but keeps going to the end (Message Bible).
You fit Jesus’ definition of a disciple the more you align your thinking, character and behavior to the attributes of love. Read and internalize 1 Cor.13:4-8 daily for the next thirty days. Let it transform your thinking and it will help you express the nature of God’s love within you.
Scriptures to Meditate: 1 John 4:7, Col.3:12-14, Eph.5:2