I want to be in a relationship where you telling me you love me is just a ceremonious validation of what you already show me. — Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
A traditional Christian song resonates with a chorus reminding us, “They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love.” Others know we belong to Jesus by the way we love each other. “They are watching,” Jesus explained, “so love.”
But what does that love look like? Let’s back up and take a look at the Bible chapter where that song came from, John 13.
“When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. ‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ he asked them. … ‘I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. … A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’” (John 13:12, 15, 34-35)
How was it that Jesus showed His love prior to the cross?
He demonstrated service to others daily. Yes, if we are going to be known as His disciples, we must recognize that others are watching how we love each other—but that’s not why we do it. Service is a natural expression of God’s love working through us. Consider the day Jesus washed the grimy feet of His followers.
Foot-washing perfectly demonstrated what Jesus desired His disciples to understand:
- Some demonstrations will be awkward. Love in unexpected ways anyway.
- Some demonstrations will feel “beneath” you. Step down and love humbly.
- Some demonstrations will need to be repeated. Serve each other and love at every opportunity.
It was an ordinary, everyday act of service that didn’t draw the crowds. It wasn’t permanent; their feet would get dirty again. It wasn’t based upon warm fuzzies and springtime feelings.
It was a dirty demonstration of serving others in love.
Is there a best way to show love? Yes, at every opportunity through ordinary acts of service.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:34-35 NASB
Demonstrating love in a way that replicates You, Jesus, seems impossible. But You don’t leave us to the task alone. By Your Spirit, demonstrating Your love can become my default, my norm! So I pray You will love through me at every opportunity. I ask that we start with those closest to me. Prompt me when You are ready to love another, then simply make me willing to let You do it through me. Amen.