In the second of this four-part series we looked at “loving God.” In this post, we are going to look at one of the natural outcomes of genuine love for God. If we truly love God and are born of God, it will result in loving our fellow Christians. As 1 John 4:20-21 explains, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” In using “brother,” the apostle John simply means a fellow Christian. What this tells us is that there are certain outcomes we can expect to see when we truly love God, and this is one of them. We are deluded if we claim to love God, but yet fail to love and serve our brother in Christ.
Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35) This is a remarkable statement. What this tells us is that true love is so rare that when people actually see it, they will take notice. It will be a powerful testimony to the watching world. Instead of trying to take advantage of one another, disciples of Jesus will strive to love and serve one another. The world can’t help but notice this.
The apostle Paul expands on this by listing several ways we can serve our brothers and sisters in Christ. “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” (Romans 12:10-13) Safe to say, we have a high calling as Christians. We are responsible not only to God, but also to the saints in Christ. Without question, our love for God will manifest itself in love for fellow Christians, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Does this mean that love among the brethren is where the love process stops? You already know the answer to that and next time we will look at “loving the world around us.” Anytime the church becomes a “holy huddle” with walls separating us from the outside world, we are falling short of God’s purpose for His Body. Once again, Paul is instructive in this. “So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10) Simply put: do good to everyone, but especially Christians.