Continuing with our theme of being a disciple of Christ (that is a person who subscribes to the message and teachings of Jesus Christ. and assists in spreading his teachings and his message of the gospel of the kingdom of God.)
One of the key teachings of Christ for his disciples is that of love - Agape love - love for the unlovely. Agape love, according to Jesus is the most important reflection of Christ-likeness and discipleship within the church. Jesus sets before us this amazing challenge: ‘As I have loved you, so you must love one another’ (John 13:34-35). Jesus loved each of us individually by laying down his life for us. He says that we are to follow his example and show self-sacrificial love.
Nothing is more of a hindrance to the message of Jesus than a lack of love between Christians. Love is more than a feeling or an emotion. It is a decision about how we treat one another. Jesus was the supreme example of love in the history of the world. He tells us to love God, to love one another, to love our neighbour as ourselves and even to love our enemies. He demonstrates all this in his own life through laying down his life for us in love.
When people see real love, agape love, they see God. If our community, our nation, and our world are to be changed, if people are going to turn back to following Jesus, we must start loving one another as Jesus has instructed. This means loving Christians of different churches, denominations, traditions and different views to ourselves. And It means loving one another in the local church: Disunity destroys, disunity repels, love unites, and love attracts others to the person of Jesus. This is why Agape love must be the foundation for everything that happens in the church. Because love is given to us as the ultimate sign and priority, it is to be a priority for us everyday both inside and outside the church. As disciples we must develop a mindset and pursue a life of love (Eph. 5:1-2).
It is only when love is our priority that the church will be distinctive as God intends. As Mother Theresa has said: In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love. Agape love is the distinguishing trait of the true Disciple; and it is this kind of love that can change the world.
Jen is an energetic and passionate disciple of Christ who loves to share Jesus with anyone who will listen!