When we lived in Casper, Wyoming our church had a reputation in the community. Everyone knew us as the people who loved each other. Great reputation to have, right?
If one of us ended up at the hospital, others were there. If one of us was grieving, others came to comfort. If one of us needed help, others generously gave assistance. And people noticed.
This is exactly what Jesus meant in John 13:34-35:
A new command I give you: love one another as I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. NIV
The Greek word translated as “love” is agape. This is the same word used in 1 Corinthians 13, “the love chapter.” Agape is not brotherly love or physical desire. Agape is the same kind of love God has for us. Agape is love expressed in deliberate action. It seeks the welfare of others. It is not dependent on their character or emotion, but is based on the character of the giver.
We can choose to act with agape towards another person. In fact, Jesus commanded us to love others like He loved us.
How did God show His love for us? (If you need help, read Romans 5:8.)
Aren’t you glad God’s love for us is based on His character and not ours?!