John 13:35 “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
If love shows the world that we love Jesus, what does love look like? How do we know if we truly have it? I am sure you could ask most anyone that calls himself or herself a Christian and they would say they love Jesus. I am sure you could ask most any married couple if they love each other and they would say, “Of course we do.” And if you asked them how they knew they loved they might say, “Because I know my heart.” Yet the Bible tells us that listening to the heart is not wise. Jeremiah 17:9 "The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” So how do we really know if we have love?
God is love. If we have God we will love because the attributes of Jesus Christ will begin to form in our lives when He makes His home in us. Our lives will reflect who Jesus is. A Holy Spirit filled Christian, the only kind of Christian, will do the will of God. If we have love our lives will be full of the fruits of the Spirit because true love produces the fruit. Galatians 5:22-23 “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
For most of my life, I said I loved but I did not. Well, I did actually love but the only one I loved was myself. To the world it may have seemed I loved but there was always a secret agenda. How many people go through their married lives with the ‘you scratch my back I will scratch yours’ mentality? Doing something to get something is not love. Examine yourself! If you got nothing back for the things you did would you still do them? You know you have love when you give and you give and you give, and get nothing back and you still want to give some more. Real love is not something you run out of or something you do to pay for something else.
If we have love, we will feel what others feel. We will be full of joy when others receive good news and we will be full of grief when others are grieved. If we have love we cannot make a personal choice that brings us happiness and others pain. Our sinful nature looks out for our own desires and happiness, and what we can get. God’s nature looks out for the wellbeing of others and what He can give. Love always chooses others first.
We can know that we have love if we speak the truth always. The truth often hurts. Those that tell you what you want to hear do not love you. People pleasers only love themselves. God is love. Jesus Christ is truth. The world will know that we are disciples of Jesus Christ if we speak the truth in love no matter the cost. If the world does not hate us, it is because we are not speaking the truth. Those that don’t know God hate the truth and they run from it.
Do you grieve, do you wail, do you weep? A deep love for others and God will often cause an overflow of tears. When excessive tears are produced, they drain into small ducts in your nasal cavity. When the ducts are full the overflow forms tears. In the same way, whatever is in the heart, when it is full, overflows into our lives in what we do, think about, and how we speak. Tears represent a heart overflowing with love.
True love always shines. No matter the circumstance, no matter the difficulties, love never changes. Love will die for another. Love will hate its own life. Love will be content in every situation. Love embraces hardship. Love endures. Love will stand forever.
Galatians 1:10 “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
John 5:44 “How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?”
Ephesians 5:1-33 “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”
2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you--unless, of course, you fail the test?”
Romans 12:15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
James 4:9 “Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.”
Philippians 3:18 “For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ.”
Acts 20:18-19 “When they arrived, he said to them: “You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents.”
Acts 20:28-31 “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.
Ephesians 4:15 “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
John 8:31-32 “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
John 18:22-23 “When Jesus had said this, one of the officers standing nearby slapped Him in the face and said, “Is this how” You answer the high priest? Jesus replied, “If I said something wrong, testify to what was wrong. But if I spoke correctly, why did you strike Me?”