The Best Test Of Your Faith… Your Love
1 John 3:11 states, "For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another,". There are many things that are easy in life. Some of these for you may be, showing your love to God, praying to God, worshipping God, loving your spouse and children, loving your best friends and family, or having love for your spiritual family in Christ. However, life gets a little more challenging when disputes or disagreements arise within one of these earthly relationships. This is understandable, after all Jesus knew we may struggle with loving those whom we perceive as "the enemy" (Mat. 5:43-48).
Disputes or disagreements between our own brothers and sisters in Christ are likely to happen, after all we are human. But as children of God we are called to be different. We are called to not hold grudges, to not backbite, to not tear down a fellow child of God. It is often easier to remain angry than to say two simple words, "I'm sorry."
Let us consider more of 1 John chapter 3 together. 1 John 3:14a "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren." The key phrase John writes here is "we have passed from death to life". How do we as Christians know that we have indeed passed from spiritual death to spiritual life? 1 John 3:14 helps us answer the question, "because we love the brethren". Have you passed the best test of your faith - your love for others, especially your fellow saints in Christ? Jesus says we will be judged according to the fruit we produce in this life (Matthew 7:15-20).
The importance of passing this test of love for each other is conveyed in the following verses. 1 John 3:14-15, "He who does not love his brother abides in death, 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." As children of God may we remember the important things in life. What is important is that we "...love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-38) We often get caught up in the unimportant such as: who is right, who holds the power over another, who has wronged us. Let us remember 3 things to help us pass our test of love for one another.
1) Jesus "laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." (1 John 3:16)
2) "...let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth." (1 John 3:18)
3) "And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him." (1 John 3:19)
Jesus the Christ is the gold standard of love. Everything you will ever need to know about what love looks like can be found in Jesus. Next time we feel the temptation to be angry or hold a grudge against another child of God, may we consider Jesus' example of love when He allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross for our sins. Each local church will only be able to reach the lost if they are working under the authority of God and showing genuine love for one another. Let each of us ensure our love is passing the test for God!