Who and what do you love most? The question may be more challenging to answer than we think.
The apostle Peter had three times denied even knowing Jesus on the night He was betrayed and arrested. In spite of his strong verbal affirmation of love and devotion, his actions in the crucial moments proved otherwise. But, the resurrected Christ graciously gave him an opportunity to rescind his denials with affirmations of love and loyalty.
“Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Tend My lambs.’ He said to him again a second time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ He said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.’ He said to him, ‘Shepherd My sheep.’ He said to him the third time, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love Me?’ Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, ‘Do you love Me?’ And he said to Him, ‘Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, ‘Tend My sheep.’ “(john 21.15-17)
The proof of love was not the verbal affirmation, but willingness to be devoted to His appeal. Proof of love for Jesus would be exhibited in loving care and compassion for His followers. And so it is for us today: the evidence of our love for Christ is how we care for His people. “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)
Many newly-wed husbands think that the most loving thing they can do for their wives is to be affectionate with them. It’s often a slow lesson learned that helping wash dishes and cleaning the house are the real evidence of love and devotion. Loving the family of God, the followers of Christ, is sometimes about as appealing as helping with the dishes or housework. Things easily get messy. Feelings are hurt, misunderstandings arise, and personality quirks get in the way. Still, the real evidence of love for Christ is compassionate care for His people, no matter how easy or hard.
I’m thankful for a loving church family that is not difficult to love and care for. Rarely do things get messy, but the call to love is not based on good behavior - or bad. However His people behave, our call remains the same: if we love Christ, we tenderly care for His people. May our love and devotion be always abundantly evident in our care for one another.
©Steve Taylor, 2015 --Used by permission
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