Love, the Only Way to Look Like Jesus
Written April 16, 2015
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.” – John 13:34-35 (ESV)
This past October Allison, Grace, and I spent a week at the beach during her fall break. While we were there we had a lot of fun going and visiting different places and seeing the sites that are a little bit difficult to see in the heat of summer. One of the most memorable events we had during that week was when we were leaving to come back home and we had decided to take the ferry from Fort Fisher to Southport. We had taken it a day or two before and Grace loved it so we figured we might as well do it again one last time as we were leaving. We drove to the ferry landing and paid our fare, and as we were driving onto the ferry something caught my eye that looked out of place. In the corner of my eye I saw something blue and sparkly. After we pulled up a little more I figure out what it was. It seems there were two ladies dressed up as Anna and Elsa from Disney’s Frozen boarding the ferry with us. Now I thought this was pretty odd while ever little girl on the boat thought it was the greatest thing ever. Their excitement grew after the ferry departed because they were able to take pictures with them inside the ship. Even better for them, these two ladies played the characters wonderfully. Their costumes were very well done to the point where they were probably professionally made and they did a great job impersonating their respective characters.
Now why in the world did I just write about an event from our fall vacation? I wrote all that to say this, the costumes made all the difference. Had those two girls walked onto that boat in jeans and T-shirts and acted like Anna and Elsa not a single child would have wanted a picture with them. Those costumes had every eye looking at them and it transformed them from ordinary people to Disney icons.
Here’s the thing, we are called to do the exact same thing everyday of our lives with Jesus Christ. The costume that He gave us, love.
In John’s gospel the new commandment was given that we love one another and that by our love all would know that we are Christ’s disciples. Christ was saying this, that if we love one another we will be unmistakable as followers of Jesus Christ. When we put on the covering of unconditional love for all the world to see Jesus would be what the world sees.
Jesus knew what we needed to do to be identified as Christians and also what would be the most effective way to identify ourselves and set ourselves apart from everyone else in this world. Jesus knew love would be the most powerful and potent force that a Christian could show in this world therefore His command was love one another.
Christians are known and identified so many different ways in this world. We wear T-shirts, bracelets, and other various garments that proclaim our faith. We listen to Christian music and attend concerts and Bible studies together. Christians are seen attending church on Sundays and Wednesday nights. However, though all these things are good and things we should do they make no impact in the world in which we live without love. The power that Christ gave us to separate ourselves from every non-believer in this world was the ability to love as Christ loved. If we wish to make an impact in this world that is how it must be done, with radical unconditional love shown to fellow believers and to the world at large.
The sad fact is this that far too often love is not the first thing that comes to mind when Christians are thought about. Pictures of someone who ridiculed them or had a judgmental attitude toward them is the first thing that pops into many minds. For others the word Christian conjures up pictures of bickering or fighting over things in the church or someone who is holding a grudge that is causing pain and suffering. The sad reason for this is because we as Christians so often act that way.
Jesus never wished His followers to be thought of in this manner. The real crux of the matter is this, we are the only ones who can change this perception. We must be ones who show radical and amazing love to our fellow believers and to this world. To try and do anything different is a futile attempt to try and look like Christ.
In fact when we try and be Christian any other way it is like putting on a suit of armor and trying to convince the world we are professional basketball players. Jesus said that by our love we would be known as His disciples. So the question is how are you doing loving others.
I must admit this is a rough question for me because I know I am guilty of getting overwhelmed with “Christian work” and forgetting the simplest of tasks like love. What we have to remember is that love is what makes our actions stand out in this world and what pushes us to go the extra mile. It transforms us from a cheap knock off Halloween outfit to a professionally made costume that would fool Walt Disney himself. Love impacts lives and makes people take notice, it drags us away from our comfort zones and pushes us to sacrifice our talents, time, and resources to benefit those that are around us. The most amazing things this, that when we do love like this, Christ is unmistakable. His hands and hearts are clearly seen and we have the greatest of platforms to share His love and His work because it is what He has done in our lives that makes us love like He does.
With all this being said let us go forth into this world and love. Let us love our neighbors, our friends, our brothers and sisters in Christ in a way that Jesus is seen by all that around us. Let us fulfill His new command that others might know who we are and that by knowing who we are other might know the Savior.