Monday, April 5, 2021

Devotionals for the Heart: How to tell if a person is a disciple of Jesus Christ


Can people tell I’m a Christian?
A devotional by Jessica Brodie

Maybe I’m wearing a Bible verse T-shirt and carry a cute travel mug with “I run on Jesus and coffee.” Maybe I clasp a cross around my neck, tuck a Bible into my work bag, and say things like “God bless you” or “I’ll pray for you.”

Is that enough? Is that how other people can tell I’m a Christian?

Sadly, no. It doesn’t matter what we wear or even the words that come out of our mouths. We can say the sweetest, kindest words, but nothing identifies us as a Jesus-follower other than one key thing.

Love.

At the Last Supper, the day before His crucifixion, Jesus was talking with His disciples about the importance of caring for each other. He’d washed their feet, exemplifying servant-leadership, and shared bread and wine with them, which he said represented His own body and blood, which would soon be sacrificed for them.

Then Jesus told them He wouldn’t be with them much longer. Therefore, He said, “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 NIV).

These words are profound: a commandment to love, just as Jesus loved us. We are to love with an all-encompassing, sacrificial love, a love that points to the Father first. This love Jesus speaks of isn’t just a feeling—He’s talking about love as an action. And how do we love others? We love them by caring for them, tending to their needs, feeding them.

In Matthew 25:35-36 (NIV), before the crucifixion, Jesus indicated how we are to love: with mercy. “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

And in John 21, after His resurrection, Jesus gathered around a campfire on the bank of the river roasting fish they’d just caught and reiterated this. “When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.’ Again Jesus said, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He answered, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Take care of my sheep.’ The third time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?’ He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep’” (John 21:15-18 NIV).

If you love me, you’ll feed my sheep, Jesus says—you’ll take care of my sheep.

Who are Jesus’s sheep? All of us. Those who already believe in Jesus, who belong to God’s church, are His sheep…but so are those who don’t yet believe, but one day will. All are His sheep. All are valued. And all deserve love.

So if you want to wear a Scripture hoodie, great! If that cross tattoo helps you stay focused on your faith walk, go for it. But remember: nothing we wear or say indicates that we follow Christ—only the love we show others in His name.

How can you show others the love of Christ?

Let’s Pray: Lord, You know I’m a work in progress, and that I don’t always love my neighbors as myself. Help me to open my heart to people. Put compassion and love in my heart. Help me to see other people and their needs and have the strength, courage, and Spirit to step up and help them in Your name. Help me to showcase Your love in all I think, say, and do. In your precious name I pray, Amen.

*Note from Alexis: Jessica’s devotional today reminds me of this song “How Beautiful” performed by Twila Paris.

~*~
Author Bio:
 
Jessica Brodie is an award-winning Christian novelist, journalist, editor, blogger, and writing coach and the recipient of the 2018 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for her novel, The Memory Garden

She is also the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism, and a member of the Wholly Loved Ministries team.

Learn more about her fiction and read her faith blog at http://jessicabrodie.com.

12 comments:

  1. There are many ways to share the love of Christ. This past weekend, Easter weekend, I noticed that everyone I spoke with was friendly and filled with joy. From cashiers in the grocery stores to customers waiting in line, each person spoke a "hello" and most shared "Happy Easter". I pray that we continue to share joy and share His love with everyone. Have a blessed week! :-)

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    1. I pray the same! I also noticed that joy and hope it draws not-yet-believers into God's family.

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  2. A beautiful post, Jessica! It reminds me of that song They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love. This is a great reminder of that truth. Are we loving like Jesus did/does?

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    1. Thanks, Melinda!! Amen. I'm realizing how important love is... it builds bridges and mends brokenness. It helps people turn to God better and more truly.

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  3. I want to encourage you to continue with this message, sister, for it is timely and worthy!

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    1. Thank you so much! Love over all. Love pointing to Jesus, who first modeled that love!

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  4. Like Melinda, this reminded me of the song, They Will Know We Are Christians by Our Love.
    May we do a better job of that than we've been doing!

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  5. Jessica, such a beautiful post. And yes, Jesus told us people would know we are Christians by our love for one another. Thank you for the reminder of just how important it is that we love. This is how we best reflect Jesus.

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    1. That is so true, Jeanne! Our job is to shine God's light in the world, and we do that when we show them Jesus and lead the way. And the way to do that is not legalism but LOVE.

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  6. Jessica, I love sharing your devotions with others that they too will know the love of Christ. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you so much! Christ's love is SO powerful and never-ending. I hope my heart continues to evolve in that direction. Agape love for ALL is the goal!

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