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  • Patrick Berney

The Mark of a True Believer

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:34-35

Hello, and welcome to this weeks post. I want to start by saying that my wife asked me to be a guest writer this week and I'm grateful for the chance to share God’s Word with you all. I also want to encourage us all to continue to pray for the situation in Ukraine and especially for our fellow believers. Let’s all pray that God brings the conflict to an end and protects the lives of everyone involved.


This week I want to examine a statement that Christ made to His followers shortly before His death, burial, and resurrection. In this text, Christ very clearly tells us how the world will be able to identify His followers. He shows us that the way to see who His followers are is by seeing that they have genuine love. So today I want to look at a few things about this text.


What It Does Not Say?

There are many false teachers in this world who, quite frankly, are not true followers of Christ. The way you know they are not, is because they do not have genuine love for people. Yet, they would still claim to be Christians and want to point to some other characteristic that they have to show you their devotion to Christ.


Some would point to their financial status as a sign of God’s blessing on their lives. They would say that it is because they are such good Christians that God blesses them with wealth. However, we can point to many people in both the Old and New Testament that were followers of Christ that didn’t have much material wealth.


Others would point to their outward appearance as a sign of their radical devotion to Christ. They would point to the way they dress or some other thing that they do with the way they present themselves and appear the other as the true mark of their commitment.


This one is tricky because I do believe that God does care about this area of our lives. However, some take this to an extreme and would even say of other believers that they aren’t true Christians because maybe they don’t follow the exact same standards they do. However, Christ did not point to outward appearance as the mark of being a true follower of His.


What This Does Teach Us?

In these few simple words Jesus wanted us to understand that the ultimate sign of a follower of His, is marked by genuine love of others. Paul echoed this perspective in First Corinthians 13 when he pointed back to all the gifts of the Spirit that he had just finished teaching about in the previous chapter. Paul said that if he had all of those gifts in abundance in His life, but lacked love, ultimately he was nothing. Jesus even warned us towards the end of His Sermon on the Mount that there would be many people in the last days that would come before him with a list of wonderful works that they have done, but that ultimately they never knew Him.


How Do We Show Love?

Going back to First Corinthians 13, Paul tells us that love is patient and kind. He also says that love is not envious, boastful, arrogant, or rude. Love doesn’t always insist on getting their own way. The list can go on, but already this sounds like a tall order. I know, by myself I cannot live up to this high standard of love in my own strength. Luckily, I can lean on the Spirit of God to help me in this area. Without the Spirit I will always fall short, but when I pray and stay in His Word and allow the Spirit to live in and work through me I am able to show the love of Christ that this world so desperately needs.



Challenge

This week, pray that God would give you the fruit of the Spirit to help you show more love to others.


Image Credit: Aaron Burden

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