What is the proof positive that we are genuine followers of Jesus Christ?
Notice the explicit words of Jesus Christ in John 13:34,35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
The Apostle Paul echoes this same truth as he pens the fourth chapter of his letter to the Thessalonians.
“Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more.” (1 Thess. 4:9,10)
Brotherly love, love by the family of God for the family of God. Who commanded this? Jesus Christ. Who modeled this? Jesus Christ. Who enables this? Jesus Christ. Who will enable us to obey this? The Spirit of God…who produces love, joy, peace and other evidences of Christlike character in the lives of genuine disciples.
The Thessalonians had been enrolled in God’s school of love. He was their teacher and Paul noted the evidence pouring out of this Greek city to the entire province where other assemblies of disciples gathered to honour the same Saviour. Yet Paul presses home this one command.
It is so easy to excuse our disobedience in this area. We don’t ‘like’ certain Christians. Some people ‘drive us crazy,’ they’re so much like us. Others don’t dot all the same i’s and cross all the same t’s as we do. Surely we don’t have to get along with them do we?
Read and reread and reread this command. There’s no escape hatch, no pass for stubborn saints. This is not an optional extra to the Christian faith but early evidence that the Spirit of God has brought us from death to live. Our love life has changed. The greatest commandment ‘Love the LORD your God….’ has called us total surrender to our God. Now this ‘new’ commandment invites us to reflect our devotion to our God in relationship with every other genuine member of His family. According to Jesus this becomes the effective tool for spreading the reality of the good news.