LOVE — the mark of Christian community

Jesus said that people will know we are disciples if we have love for one another. And that can be a problem. Because “love” is one messed up word, let me tell you!

Most often in our culture “love” means “like a great deal.” I love pizza. I love my car. I am in love with a girl. If you ponder this way of looking at “love” for a moment, you will see that it basically has to do with me. It means that something makes me feel good. Pizza. My car. The girl I’ve started dating. Why do I love them? Because they make me feel so good!

Imagine trying to build a community (or family, or marriage, for that matter) on everything making me feel good. It may sound attractive, but so does being able to fly through the air just by thinking hard enough… and both are equally as likely.

Lucky for us, our feelings are not what Jesus is talking about when he says “love for one another” will be an observable mark of his disciples.

Can you imagine a community where people are patient and kind? Where people aren’t envious, boastful, rude or arrogant? Where people don’t insist on their own way? Where nobody is irritable or resentful? Where people believe in you, don’t keep a record of wrongs, and bear with you? That would be an awesome place! I am smiling just thinking about it.

A place like that would be a place where people have decided to treat each other well, sometimes in direct opposition to how they are feeling. That would a place where love, as the Bible talks about it, is the driving force and have I got some good news for you! That is exactly the place God wants the church to be.

There are over 60 references in the New Testament to how Christians are to treat each other. The message series beginning September 12 at Journey of Life will be exploring how God says we are to treat one another. We will also have 5-week small groups to further explore and grow in how to treat each other well.

You can listen to or view the messages on Journey of Life’s Blip.tv channel (http://journeyoflife.blip.tv/). The are usually posted by Wednesday morning, and are often posted on Sunday afternoon following the service. We’re also going to take a crack at having a virtual small group, so if you are not in Orlando and want to participate, just let me know. (john@journeyoflife.org).