Having just celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary last week, it got me to thinking a lot about love. Love for us has changed in those years, from a romantic, butterflies in my stomach feeling to a confidence and reassurance of acceptance no matter how I have acted or what I have done.
That commitment to serving one another has grown over these 15 years (and counting) to build a confidence of loyalty, forgiveness, acceptance, and encouragement. I know I am loved and want to give my best to her. I also know that when I fail to do that, she is committed to staying with me and will forgive me. Love, with all the sacrifice, commitment, forgiveness, and grace, is what holds our marriage together.
What does love have to do with our Christian faith? Everything! It is the basis of how Jesus wanted us to remember Him. In fact, at the Last Supper, which was the last time with His closest followers, Jesus reminds them in John 13:34-35 to love as His new command.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
This new command of Jesus is to love one another. Jesus wants our relationship with others to now be based upon the kind of Love that He has shown us. Jesus uses Himself as the standard to love by. As He has loved us, so we are now called to love one another.
This new command is not based upon keeping laws, but on how we show love in each situation. The question changes from “What am I allowed to do and not do?” to “What does love require of me?”
What is the result of loving one another? So that everyone, believers and unbelievers alike, will see that we are disciples, those committed to following, in the way of our Savior Jesus.
Loving one another is not something we do on our own, for we need God’s help, guidance, forgiveness, grace, and perseverance. The good thing is that God is already present through His Holy Spirit when we choose to love others and serve their needs before our own. For scripture says that “God is Love”. He is the very thing that Jesus commands us to be, people of Love or people of God.
Since we know the agape, unconditional, servant love of Christ, we should continue to ask ourselves this question, “What does love require in this situation?” When we ask that question to the Lord and honestly seek the apply the answers; we are then living the way Jesus taught us to and everyone will know that we are truly His disciples. Let love be our banner today, in our marriages, in our church, in our families, in our community, in our schools, in our work environments. Wherever we find ourselves, let the Love of Christ be the guiding factor in all we do.