A good reminder of what is truly urgent. Nice post from Tom Rainer today from his blog. Original found here.
I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35, HCSB)
I have incredible vision to see the faults of others. I can tell you quickly what’s wrong with someone who is close to me or someone who is a critic of me.
My problem is that I don’t look in the mirror enough. I don’t see the plank in my own eyes because I’m so busy seeing the splinters in others’ eyes.
My plan for this year is to read the four Gospels repeatedly. Today I read John 13. Today God broke my heart.
The text above is so clear. The primary way that others will know of my faith is how I treat fellow believers. The love I demonstrate to others will be the test of my witness to the world.
I have a long way to go.
May I share with you what God said to me through these two verses? I have enumerated them into five “I must” statements.
- I must demonstrate love to all Christians. The “one another” passage is clear. There is no exception clause. There are no qualifying descriptors that allow any believer to be exempt from my demonstration of love.
- I must demonstrate love even to those who do not show love to me. This statement is a corollary of the first. It’s easy to love those who always have my back, who are some of my closest friends, and who would never say a critical word about me. But I must love the unloving, the critical, and the hurtful as well.
- I must ask God to work on me before I seek to examine the faults in others. If I truly follow this command, I need work first in my own life. I must repent of my sometimes loveless attitude toward others. I cannot demonstrate real love toward some people in my own power. But God can work through me. He reminds to love others as He first loves me. And He loved me so much that He died for me.
- I must demonstrate love to my family. Sometimes my actions or lack of actions communicate lack of love to those closest to me. Sometimes my priorities tell my family members that I really don’t love them as I should.
- I must realize that one of my most potentially powerful acts of evangelism is to show love to other believers. I asked my barber once what he thought of Christians. He said without malice that he knew what we were against, but he didn’t know what we were for. That stung. I often lament the woeful state of evangelism among believers and churches. And then I realize with conviction how many times I have likely hurt the cause of evangelism with my own lack of love toward other believers. The world is watching me. And though it pains me to admit it, what the world has seen in me is not often a pretty sight. I know I have at times been a hindrance to the Great Commission.
It is amazing to see the power of God’s Word. And it is amazing to see the power of God’s Word convicting my own life.
I came away from my Bible study today with a message from God to me. It was a clear and convicting word.
This one thing I must do.
I must love others.