What does a music lover look like? Or a football fan? Or a musical football fan? Well, like, anyone, really. Aside from the people wearing piano-key ties or team jerseys, it wouldn’t be instantly clear. But spend some time listening to what they discuss with the most excitement, or hear how they tend to spend their time, and it wouldn’t take long to figure out.
A group by definition consists of individuals who share some characteristic in common. But what identifiable commonalities do Christians share, given the diversity of Christianity—the hundreds of ethnicities, traditions, languages, and ways of worshiping?
Jesus clearly tells us what sets us apart as His followers:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
Love. Love God. Love your neighbor. Love in a Jesus-kind-of-way. Love in a radical, forgiving, sacrificing, not self-seeking kind of way.
It’s like a secret agent whose commitment to his mission guides him through the complexities of disguises and intrigue. To love as Jesus loved guides us in whatever individual role we have as a part of His kingdom.
“Follow me.” Jesus invited a ragtag group—from fishermen to a revolutionary to a tax collector—to journey with him for three pretty wild years. And he speaks these same words to us; he calls us to follow him, walk with him, be about the things he was about, to emulate him. His call to all Christians is to become followers, people who love, and agents who know their mission.
The Bible has more to say on what kinds of actions and commitments distinguish us as Christ-followers. Don’t miss, however, that these principles don’t mean anything unless we see them as flowing out of our guiding mission: love God and love others.[Read “God’s Call for Me: Vocation”]