“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” —Jesus, John 13:35 (NLT)
During this month, the culture around us will focus on “love” with images of hearts and cupids, and gifts of flowers and candy. Interestingly, that’s the very word image that Jesus used when he described the way that the world around us would be able to identify true followers of Jesus… they would know us by our love.
Now that doesn’t mean we have to send Valentines to each other or buy chocolate for the preacher (although you are welcome to do those things!) But it does mean that if we are going to try to win the world, we must win them by the way we show them the love of Jesus. And if we want the world to notice the love we have, they need to be able to see examples of our love when they look at us… even in the way we treat the other people around us who are sometimes a little less loveable. You know who I’m talking about… There’s the great-aunt or cousin that thinks she is the world’s greatest expert on everything and you find yourself trying to find an excuse out of that family reunion just to avoid her. Or perhaps it’s the guy who thinks he has a personal mission from God Almighty to tell everyone in the church how their jobs and ministries ought to be run… or maybe someone from work who’s more annoying than productive. Sometimes it’s just plain hard to love someone!
These are the ones the non-Christians around us are watching… to see how we interact with them. Is the love of Jesus evident in those annoying, stressful, strained relationship moments? Because if the love of Christ is big enough to make a difference in those situations, with those people, then maybe He could help in their lives as well.
Our annual conference has tried to boil down HOW we, as a group of churches and as a group of Christians, can “get the job done” and it came down to one basic statement: “Our core value is love.”
With every heart decoration or candy you see this month, with every valentine you send or receive this month, and with every relationship you encounter this month, let the love of Jesus be at the very core of what you do, what you say, and who you are… because they’ll know us by our love.