by Sarah Nelson
Perhaps you’ve received an e-mail or seen a post on Facebook with the title “You Know You’re From (fill in the blank with the name of a town or a region of the country). As I have read several of those humorous writings I’ve chuckled at the hallmarks attributed to places I have lived. Some of the characteristics I relate to immediately, and others seem strangely unfamiliar. Maybe your address, like mine, has changed more times than you can remember and as a result the front of your organizer has several crossed out former home addresses. I decided to start with a brand new page as I was tired of seeing the x’s through numbers and street names I formerly occupied.
What if the FB post or e-mail forward said, “You know you are a Christian when. . . “, or better yet, “Others will know you are a Christian by . . . ” This is an interesting thought to challenge us. Thankfully, we don’t have to rely on a cleverly worded note to answer those questions. God’s Word gives us clear instruction on first of all, how we can know with certainty that we are saved by Jesus, and therefore bear the name Christian. Secondly, the Bible tells us how our lives should look to others. Sometimes our relationship with Jesus sets us apart as a welcome light pointing to Him; other times we will face hostility and misunderstanding as we cling to the standard of His Word in an ever shifting culture.
One of the main ways people can know that “we are in the world, but not of it” is by our love for one another. Just because someone is a Christian, does it make them easy to love? I wish the answer was yes, but often times loving Christians can seem more difficult than loving our non-believing friends and family. Recently my husband preached on the following verses:
“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
As he preached he pointed out that the command Jesus gave to love one another, wasn’t based on our own strength, resources, or motivation. We are commanded to love one another because Jesus loves us. When we are feeling frustrated, hurt, or even angry with fellow Christians brothers and sisters and that well of love is running dry, let us turn our eyes to the cross and remember it was LOVE that put Jesus there. Love for you and me. Love that we have been given, so we can give it to others. By this, people will know we are His disciples.