The Mark of A True Disciple

FTI Love One Another“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.”
John 13:34-35

I’ll admit I struggle with this. Love can feel like one of the most difficult things in this world to do. But for a true disciple of Jesus, there is no way around it. We are called to love. Actually, we are commanded to love.

Before Jesus humbled himself on the cross, he humbled himself to wash the feet of his disciples. You can read about it in John 13, the same passage that contains the verses quoted above.

Jesus was teaching them by example – humility, service, others before self – this is how you are to live. Love each other so that “everyone will know that you are my disciples.” 

So it grieves me to see Christians divided when we should be standing in unity against the enemy of our souls.

I think Kristen encapsulated how I and so many of us feel when she used the word “weary” in her post yesterday. We are tired of seeing the virtual carnage, the bloodbath of hurtful words streaming in front of our eyes, wounding our souls. Yes, we are weary.

Some may think they are helping enlighten others when they attack and brother or sister (or an entire family) on social media. They may think it’s harmless venting. But the truth is, if we are going to identify ourselves with the name of Christ, we need to think long and hard about what messages we are conveying.

Because the world is watching. And they love to see us hating on each other because then they have an easy excuse for rejecting Christianity.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to give anyone a reason to walk away from Jesus. I want to be numbered with the true disciples – the ones who show love to one another, reserving their swords for the real enemy.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers,
against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and
against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12

How To Be Pharisee Free

And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” ~Micah 6:8

Recently, I was disheartened to learn that a “christian” man launched a verbal attack on a good friend of mine. Actually he wrote hateful and malicious words in an attempt to defame and harm this person.

This self-proclaimed prophet must feel he is doing God and the rest of the world a favor by pointing out what he deems as flaws in other people. Sadly, his knowledge of the Bible is outweighed only by his own ego.

The interesting thing is, to meet him, you would be impressed. He goes to church, has a nice family, even speaks for the pastor when he’s out of town. He says all the right things and seems to lead the perfect life.

Outwardly, he looks the part.  But he has forgotten that there is only One Righteous Judge.

Sound familiar? Yes. Unfortunately, this guy is a real-life, modern-day Pharisee! Read Matthew 23 and you will find that Jesus spoke extremely strong words against this group. Here is an example: 

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. Matthew 23:23

The person I’m speaking of lives by the letter of the law. But, while he has a heightened sense of justice, he appears to have a low opinion of mercy, and humility is not allowed in his courtroom. Pride has lead to deception and, while he thinks he is serving God, he is really serving himself.

Now for the hard question.

Could I be a Pharisee and not know it?  

In Matthew 7:1-2, Jesus warns, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” 

If I decide to dole out my own plan for justice and withhold mercy from this person, am I any different than him?

The only way I can be sure to live a Pharisee-free life is by humbling myself and making sure the only arrows I’m shooting are pointed at my pride and not other people, especially fellow Christians.

My prayer is that God would help us all, as James 1:22 exhorts us, to “be doers of the word and not hearers only.” To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with Him.

Here are a couple of things I found related to the scripture Micah 6:8 that I found inspiring and I hope you will too!

A project and a keepsake from the blog, This Glorious Day 

And a song for worship and reflection, Humble King by Brenton Brown