Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

May 17, 2013

They will know we are Christians by our love

By Larry Hudson Centerville Church of Christ
The Daily Iowegian

---- — This Sunday is Pentecost in the Christian community. Some churches celebrate this day a great deal, others almost ignore it completely. When I turn the key to start my car, I don’t think much about it. I just expect the car to start and have the power to run down the road.

Jesus tells the apostles in Acts 1:8 that they will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them, and then they will be witnesses of Him. In John 13:35 Jesus told the apostles that by this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. I believe that love and the power of the Holy Spirit are closely entwined. I think that love is the most important and powerful word in the English language.

Jesus was asked what was the most important commandment of the Law. He said that it was to love the Lord your God with, basically, everything that you are, and to love your neighbor as yourself. He said that on these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets. If one could infer that the Old Testament, or the Law and the Prophets were written to the Israelites so they would know how and why they should live, then you could say that Jesus’ answer is “the meaning of life.”

It is important that you keep this love in order. First we must love God with all of our self. Somehow God changes us when we do that, just like when we “fall in love” with another person. The reason we do things changes. We would do “anything” for that other person. But this relationship is with God and not just with another person. Then we love our neighbor (others) with this new sense of love that we have for ourselves that God has given us.

If this truly is the meaning of life, then somehow we all must try and grasp it and live it out better. With terrorist threats all over, divorces happening in half of our families, selfishness at an all-time high, the Devil is doing a good job of messing up our thinking of love. Which brings us back to Pentecost.

Pentecost is a Jewish holiday, but it is also the day that the Holy Spirit came into His temple, the people of the church. If we are a Christian, we have the Holy Spirit and His power in us.

The apostle Paul wrote a letter to the Ephesian Christians near the end of his life that tells us how important this event is. In the third chapter Paul prays for these Christians that they would have the power of the Holy Spirit inside of them so that they would have a real knowledge of just how big the love of Jesus is, so that they may be filled up to all the fullness of God, the Father.

Maybe this being filled up to all the fullness of God could also be viewed as how or why we should live: to love as Jesus loved. If so, the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Jesus that Paul talked about is far too big for us to understand if we don’t have the power given to us by the Holy Spirit.

Let God’s Spirit be powerful in your life to help you to live as He, the creator, has designed us to, not by people’s standards, but by God’s. Love God, then love people.

They will know we are Christians by our love.