You don’t have to go very long without hearing the word love. Somebody says, “I love this place” or “I love that car.” There are songs about love, poems about love, shows and movies about love. And you would think that a people who use the word so frequently would have a better concept of love. But we seem to be a generation consumed with just the opposite—hatred, anger, bitterness, wrath, malice, and evil intent. Perhaps we really don’t know what love is or worse, we know what it is and are not practicing it.
Love is a commandment. What did Jesus say? “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 13:34). It was not a new suggestion or a new possibility or option. It was a commandment.
We must get past this idea that love is nothing more than an emotion that we cannot control or a feeling that we fall into or out of. Love is a decision, a choice, a commandment that you either chose to obey or disobey. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God” (Deuteronomy 6:5) is a commandment. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Leviticus 19:18) is a commandment. “Love one another even as I have loved you” (John 15:12) is a commandment. It is not just our hearts that are involved here. Love has to do with the will. Will you obey?
Love must be elevated to a new level. That means that our love ought to be extended to each other in the same manner that Jesus extended it to us. We must be willing to freely give what God has freely given to us.
That’s why Jesus calls this a “new” commandment. If our love for one another doesn’t meet the standard of Jesus’ love for us, then it is not love at all. Loving as Jesus loved means serving. It sometimes involves sleepless nights, inconvenient interruptions, and even the possibility that you will be taken advantage of, but when we are the hardest to love is when we need love the most.
Love is the badge of the believer. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Soldiers are known by their uniforms, athletes are recognized by their numbers, and Christians are known by their love for one another. This is our distinguishing characteristic, the mark of our discipleship. It’s not wearing a WWJD bracelet or some other symbol. It’s not the number of passages you have memorized, or how marked-up your Bible is. It’s not some great display of power or courage. Jesus said that people recognize who we are to the extent that we love one another as He has loved us.
If we can’t love each other whom we have seen, how can we ever love God whom we have not seen (1 John 4:20)? “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”
Before His death, Jesus instructed His disciples to love one another. A must for being a Christian is to love one another as God has loved us. How can we do what we do not have? In order for us to love one another as God loved us is to be obedient to the gospel of Christ, that is, to hear His Word, have faith, believe, repent of our sins, and to be immersed (baptized) for the remission of our sins. Are you willing to do this, then why not NOW?