The Centrality of Love in Discipling Communities
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” --John--
Disciples of Jesus are made within the context of relationships characterized by love. Therefore, true Christian community is characterized by love. Unfortunately it is much easier to go through the motions of leading or attending Bible study and never really experience receiving or giving the kind of love that we are told is THE mark of the Family of God.
Our Life Communities will be successful only if we are pursuing to cultivate Jesus centered love relationships with each other.
Honestly, as I sit and write about this I am overwhelmed. It is mostly because to think that I can communicate the depth of what it means to love one another as the Bible defines it through writing is pretty ridiculous. Another reason I am overwhelmed is because I have been loved in this way and it is truly humbling.
Over and over the News Testament tells us that love for one another is a huge deal. It is not an add-on or an elective. Love is what identifies our communities as communities of faith in Jesus Christ. Anybody can dispense information but it takes men and women of God to truly love in the way Jesus told us to.
Here are a few examples from scripture that show the importance of love for one another.
“Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” – John 13:1
“A new command I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By THIS all men will know that you are my disciples, IF you have love for one another.” – John 13:34-35
“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father had loved me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.” – John 15:8-9
“This is my commandment, that you love one another, JUST AS I HAVE LOVED YOU.” – John 15:12
“This I command you, that you love one another.” – John 15:17
“I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” – John 17:26
“For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOUR SELF.” – Gal. 5:14
“Beyond all these things, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” – Col. 3:14
“This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.” – 1 John 3:23
“Beloved let us love one another for love is form God….the one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” – 1 John 4:7-8
The list could go on and on. I have barely scratched the surface. What amazes me is how much of Jesus’ teachings to His disciples in those last hours was about love. He could have said and done a lot of things but He loved them and challenged them to love.
My fear is that we are so accustomed to reading the word “love” in the Bible and hearing it said in the world with no real meaning, that we have become desensitized to the power and depth that Biblical love for one another holds.
The point is that for us to be (as communities of believers) who God wants us to be then we must pursue to love in the way that He loves. We have to understand that when we gather in our Life Communities and walk along side of each other (and just live life as disciples of Jesus) we need to be praying and asking God to help us love. If we do not do that, we miss the point.
Part 2 will be “What is Biblical Love For One Another”