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.
What was it that had so marked Jesus’ life and His ministry? What made Him so different than the Pharisees? What quality in Jesus drew the masses of hurting and seeking and needy people unto Him? Only His love. His love stood out in an evil and sinful world. His love made a difference in people’s lives. And His love drove His mission and His steps toward the cross so that we might have life through Him.
But even though Jesus no longer walks this Earth, His love remains. His love is the standard, and it should be the defining characteristic of Christians because it was the defining characteristic of Jesus Christ. It should be recognizable in us. The love of Christ in us should stand out and make a difference in the world around us. And that comes not just in what we say, but what we do and how we live and how we treat those around us.
What does it look like, then, to live out the love of Christ? We simply have to follow His own example. Jesus already loves us with that powerful, self-sacrificing, overcoming love. So we love as He loves. We treat people how He treats us. We develop a character that aligns with His. We give out what we have received ourselves. And that causes us to serve as Jesus served and to obey as Jesus obeyed, because He served and obeyed out of love for His Father and love for those He served.
It is a high standard to live up to, but are we living in such a way that the love of God is evident in us? Jesus says that love is to be the identifying feature of His followers. It should be demonstrated in such a way that others can’t help but realize something is different. It’s not just talk or a claim we are to make. But it is something demonstrable that others will be able to see. May the love of Christ shine forth in our lives and have an impact on those around us and draw them closer to Jesus.