Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Whole World Is Watching

I receive an email daily from "The Purpose Driven Life Daily Devotional" and this particular one said SO MUCH, so I thought I would share it with everyone.

by Jon Walker

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:35 NLT)

We prove our faith in Christ, not by the rules we keep, but by the love we give.

Notice Jesus didn’t say, “Love me,” as proof of our discipleship. He said, “Love one another, and that will show the world you belong to me.” One of the best things we can do to reach our community for Christ is to love each other – that is, to love other believers.

Until the world sees the love of God modeled in Christian community, they’re going to have trouble believing it can ever exist. When we truly care for one another, we show the world a love so tangible and contagious that they can’t help but be attracted to it.

As the world watches, they’ll see us “…being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, intent on one purpose;” not merely looking out for our own personal interests, but also for each other’s interests (Philippians 2:3-4). The world is desperate for love and a sense of community, and we’re meant to be the salt (Matthew 5:13) that increases their thirst for the living water. (John 4:10) “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” (John 7:38 NIV)

Our love for one another shows the world our unity with the Father and also shows them that community requires unity, a oneness about the purposes of life. Jesus said, “I want all [my disciples] to be one with each other, just as I am one with you and you are one with me. I also want them to be one with us. Then the people of this world will believe that you sent me.” (John 17:21 CEV)

This means the influence of our congregations is not about attendance, or buildings, or programs. Our influence within the greater community is based upon our love for one another.

Isn’t it alarming, then, to think that we’re often known for what we are against, rather than what we’re for – and we are for the Good News of a love so “wide and long and high and deep” that it encompasses more than any of us could ever imagine. (Ephesians 3:18 NIV)

Our community of unity should reflect the faith we have in the love of Jesus Christ. Our congregations are meant to be points of love and light in the darkness of our communities. We’re to let our “light shine so that others will see the good” and praise our Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

People are less impressed with our words than they are with our actions of love for one another. Your love for other believers speaks about God’s love. How loud is your voice?

So what?

You witness to others when you love believers – Jesus gave the world the right to judge the authenticity of our faith by how much we love one another – that is, how we love other Christians. Yet some of the greatest conflicts we will experience are with other believers. Ask God what fences you need to mend. The whole world is watching how we love one another.

What are you saying about God? – We make a statement about God by the way we love one another. It may be a positive statement or it may be a negative one, but the fact is people often form their opinions of God by how they see us individually. There’s truth in the old saying, “You may be the only picture of Jesus people will ever see.” People also may base their opinion of God on the reputation of our congregations – how we get along, how we support each other, how we criticize others.

Is your love tangible? – Our love for one another offers a tangible, and contagious, reflection of God’s love, allowing the world to witness the power of transformed lives. How loud do your actions speak about the love of God? How loud is the voice of your small group?

© 2007 Jon Walker. All rights reserved.

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