By Steve Troxel
One of the last commands Jesus gave was to "go and make disciples of all nations" (Matthew 28:19). The making of a disciple is the complete work of the Holy Spirit; but we are told to join in this work by teaching people to believe in the sacrifice of Jesus for the forgiveness of sin, to humbly submit control of their life into His hands, and to "obey everything I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:20).
God's Word contains the complete description of what it means to believe, submit, and obey. Jesus taught extensively on each of these issues. But the single command which will have the greatest impact on the world around us is the command to love.
"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 phrase "As I have loved you" ought to rip at our heart. Though there was nothing in us to deserve His love, Jesus gave His life. And long before He gave His physical life, He laid down the very essence of who He was; He "made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness" (Philippians 2:7). Jesus loved enough to give up who He was for those completely unlovable; and this is the level of love we are called to demonstrate to one another.
We are called to a sacrificial love - a love that gives and considers the needs of others ahead of our own. We are called to give our time, our tears, our understanding, and even our material resources when necessary. We are called to love enough to rejoice when others rejoice, but also to hurt when others hurt, and to forgive simply because Jesus first forgave us. We are called to love!
But notice why we are called to such love. Our love for others is certainly an expression of gratitude to God and a maturing process as we grow into the likeness of Christ, but Jesus also says our love for others is the one sure way of telling the world we are followers of Christ. Our love becomes an act of worship because, through love, we are boldly declaring Jesus is Lord! As we love - even when others may not "deserve" our love - we actively show the world the joy and peace found only in Jesus.
The world is overflowing with people who need love, who have run out of hope, longing for someone to let them know they care. We are those who must care! We must reach out to one another with a love that defies all worldly wisdom and understanding. We must love as Jesus loved us. This love will be used to work miracles; this love will bring glory and honor to our Heavenly Father; this love will show the world that we are truly His disciples.
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