I have often wondered how Jesus Christ would react if he came back to the earth now and how he would view the organization that claim to represent his standards? Would he be happy with Christians?
What does Jesus think when you say “Christian” and you hear answers like “judgmental,” “intolerant,” “narrow-minded” or “out-of-touch.” Somehow, Christians have really messed up what it means to be a Christian.
The Bible uses the term Christian only three times. The Bible uses the term disciple(s) 282 times, believers 26 times and Christians only 3 times. in Biblical times, followers of Jesus were called disciples.
In New Testament times a disciple was someone who wanted to learn from another person. The disciple would attach themselves to the person and learn a particular skill. When the skill was fully transferred they would go on their way.
So what makes a Christian or disciple today? Jesus said that the world would mark us as Christ-followers by the love we have for one another. John 13:34-35 says: “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 is what Jesus wanted his followers to be known for.
For most people love is optional and conditional. For Christians, love is a commandment to obey unconditionally. It is not an easy commandment, but our mission is to love the other person if your love for the Lord is real, “If you love me, keep my commands.” – John 14:15. Jesus is speaking to His followers here. He is therefore intending that His church, His followers demonstrate the near love of Jesus on display among those who are lost and lonely.
The world wants nothing more than to locate weaknesses and failure in God’s children to show that they really do not love one another in obedience to Christ.
So how do we equip people who say they follow Jesus to love one another? I believe there are several ways. One is to remember a few basic facts: That we are loved by Jesus, that He has demonstrated that love clearly, and that He loved us first. He did not wait until we said we were sorry. He loved first. He did not wait until we had communicated all the ways we needed to be loved. He loved first. If we love others first, without it being earned, we can create an environment of active love for one another.
These may seem too simple, but it is a first step in the Christian learning to live and learn this new command Jesus gave, to love one another. A lot of people can be generous and kind and compassionate and philanthropic. But only by the power of God can an entire group of people begin to faithfully and perseveringly through good and bad, through ease and conflict, through respect and disrespect, keep loving each other.
Can you imagine what your workplace and community would be like if you loved the way Jesus calls us to love? Can you imagine what would happen in our nation—in our world—if Christians everywhere began living like disciples? What if for the next 3 to 6 months, Christians committed to love the people around them?
If you’re a Christian, try it this week. To the best of your ability, by God’s grace, love the people around you. This isn’t a means to an end; you’re not going to fix people. This is better. This is being a disciple. It has the power to change your heart, your relationships, your community, and even the world.