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

Marriage Mansions – Lessons in Unity

We have another wedding in the family coming up soon and it has me thinking today about love. Young love, old love and all-the-stages-in-between love. The building, the nurturing and the keeping of love. And how marriage is like a house.

The ceremony lays the foundation. A man and woman standing at an altar. Vows made to each other and to God. A candle lit to symbolize the “two becoming one”. Because unity is the key to successful marriage-building.

Husband and wife fill days and years learning how to make altar vows translate to real life. At first, how to dress windows and walls. Later, how keep the roof from leaking. All require a “together” mentality and a like-minded faith. Because life is hard enough without turning the hammer on each other. And there are other tools that can help create the beautiful, lasting structure of a happy marriage. Tools like shared prayer, bible study and church attendance.

I have found this to be true in my own marriage and it seems many others have discovered the same. Don’t believe me? Read what I found today on USA Today’s website:

“Couples that study Scripture, pray and attend church together are significantly more likely to say they are happy or extremely happy in their marriage, according to new research in the Journal of Marriage and Family.”

Looks like the secret is out: It helps when spouses are both working together. With God’s help and guidance, repairs get made more quickly and the house gets stronger. That’s how to avoid winding up with a marriage shack.

Work together on building a marriage mansion and you will find yourself living in a true shelter.

If this is not the kind of marriage you have at the moment, please be encouraged today that there is hope. “With God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26b

Remember the vows. Remember the candle. No matter what the situation, choose unity. Unified thinking, unified purpose, unified faith always results in unified hearts.

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24