“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another… This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends... Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one… I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” John 13:34-35; 15:12-13; 17:11,26
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God… In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another…God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him… There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear… And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” (1 John 4:7,10-11,16,18,21)
When our lives are distinguished by the love of our Maker on us in salvation, they in turn are distinguished by that love working through us toward others. Once grounded in Him, He tosses us into the world to mirror His affection and care among our brothers and sisters in Christ, and to make much of His love to those who need Him. We are distinct in that we love as Christ does, sacrificially and selflessly, a stark contrast to the fickle, self-serving, conditional love of the world.
For those who don’t know Christ, love is a feeling that is all about me and stroking my ego. For the Christian, love has no smack of pride or self-interest, but rather, emulates the all-for-you love of Christ. He taught, conversed, healed, and suffered all on our behalf, for our sake, and when we love as He does, all is for the other’s good.
Within the Body, we have the privilege of expressing His implanted love by exercising our gifts, encouraging and serving one another, bearing each other’s burdens. Loving thus, we are distinguished by our model of Christ’s intimate, covenantal love to the onlooking world. How clear a picture do they see? And how well do we exhibit Christ’s love to those outside the body through generous serving, compassionate caring, keen listening, conciliatory engaging? (Romans 5:5; 12:6-13; Galatians 6:2-3,10)
“See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were a present far too small.
Love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.” ~Isaac Watts (1707)
Lord, distinguish my love for others so they know You are the Source. Make a difference through me so those receiving, and those watching, see and love You.