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The Importance of Love in the Christian Life

16/07/2023
The Importance of Love in the Christian Life

Do you sometimes find it hard to tell the difference between real and fake? The commercial world is full of examples of genuine, custom-designed, branded merchandise and fake, copied, most definitely unbranded merchandise.

Can you always tell the difference?

A real Christian? Fake or authentic?

What about genuine or fake Christians? How can you tell one from the other?

The magic formula is – LOVE. The real Christian loves. The fake Christian doesn’t. Jesus made this crystal clear: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, that you love one another.” John 15: 35.

If you, indeed, consider yourself to be a real Christian, it is essential that you have genuine love in your heart, not only for those closest to you but also for your Christian community and the wider world.

What is genuine love?

The ultimate example of genuine love is: Jesus laying down his life to save sinners. Jesus facing the agony of the cross. Jesus enduring the wrath of his father. All because of his love and the burning desire in his heart to save sinners. No one can even come close to that kind of love.

But the good news is, with the Spirit’s help, we can and do show love to:

  • Our family
  • Our friends
  • Strangers

Without demonstrating real love for each other, how will anyone know that we are followers of Jesus? Why would anyone even want to find out about Jesus if his self-proclaimed followers don’t show love for each other?

Love is the signpost.

Love points the way; it is a signal; it shines a brilliant spotlight on Jesus, the Messiah, the Saviour of the world.

By showing genuine love for our family, the church community and strangers, we are making Christianity attractive. We are revealing the light in the darkness, encouraging people to reach out and touch that light, to find out about who our Lord and Master is. We are helping seekers to delve into questions like…Is Jesus:

A MESSIAH disguised as a CARPENTER?

Or

A CARPENTER disguised as a MESSIAH?

Who is this Jesus, really? Why do Christians even want to follow him? If our leader, Jesus, is teaching us and inspiring us to loving actions, then others will want to investigate who Jesus is. But what sort of advertisement for Christianity are those who are only Christians in name? They call themselves Christians, but their actions are decidedly unloving.

Consider these two examples:

  1. Christian A appears to be devout. He reads his bible regularly. He prays daily. He never misses a Sunday service. Even when he is away, he finds a church to attend. But he has never been drawn into any service for his church – he considers mundane tasks to be superficial.
  2. Christian B doesn’t appear to be quite so devout. While she does pray regularly, there are some days when she doesn’t pray at all. Her church attendance record is not as impeccable as Christian As. For example, she doesn’t attend church when she goes away on holiday. But she helps at the Sunday school, is on the meals ministry for needy families, serves tea after church, and visits people in and outside the church who are in dire need of a helping hand and an encouraging word.

Which of the two emulates Jesus? Which of the two shows love? Which of the two will attract people to the church to learn about Jesus – to find life?

       Never underestimate the power of love in the Christian life. It can make all the difference to the world’s view of Christians, of the church, and ultimately of Jesus as the Saviour of the world.

Breath of God by Gillian Leggat
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