Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Mark of a Christian
"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:35)
What is the distinguishing mark of a Christian? Is it a cross hung around the neck? Or, is it a long white, flowing robe and a long drawn face? The New Testament is very clear about what is expected of a follower of Christ. In answer to the question from the Jewish scribe, Jesus said that the most important of all commandments is to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" God does not judge people by their looks. And the world also looks beyond your robe. It is said that the Hebrew religion had over 600 different commandments. Jesus condensed all of them into one: Love. It was the sum and substance of all other commandments. If you have the love of God and love of your neighbor in your heart, you just cannot think or commit evil. When your love for God is complete, there cannot be evil thoughts in your mind. When your love for the neighbor is perfect, there cannot evil desires to commit anything wrong against anyone of them.
Love should be the badge of the Christian. Love expresses itself in action. Love has a cost attached to it. It is not enough to express love in words. It has to be followed by deeds. Love is not cheap. It might involve expense of resources, energy and time. It also involves making yourself vulnerable. When you earnestly and sincerely love someone, you are exposing yourself to the possibility of getting hurt. Jesus loved his disciples to the utmost. Yet, one of them betrayed him, another denied him, and yet another would not trust until he physically touched the wound. Jesus did not harbor any ill-will towards anyone of them. Still, he loved them and encouraged them. He gave the most valuable possession of all for our sake – His life. And, He is our model.
While love is divine, hatred is the hall mark of the devil. The devil cannot love, because he is all about selfishness, arrogance, and envy. Divinity cannot cohabit with evil. That is why John said, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. Love for God must go hand in hand with love for our brethren. If we cannot honestly and sincerely love our brothers and sisters, then our faith is in question. “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death.” (1 John 3:14) Let us make sure we experience real ‘life’.
Prayer: Lord, help me to understand your love, through your ultimate sacrifice, so that I may learn to show this love to others. Amen.
Thought of the Day: Do we follow Christ the way we are supposed to?
M. C. Jacob NJMTC Randolph