John 13:34-35 says, “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.” What an amazing command Jesus gave us there. The power of that command is overwhelming when we think about how much He loved us. Jesus loved us fiercely. He loved us to the point of literally sacrificing His life. More than that, when He gave His life for us, it wasn’t like we had already been made whole. He did not die for us because we had been completely restored and we had earned it. No. The word says that “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5: 8).
God’s word says that people will see Christ in us, when we love each other to the point of sacrifice. In other words, when people look at our lives and they see evidence that our love for others is greater than our love for ourselves, they will know we are disciples of Jesus. As I look back on my own personal walk with Christ, it is impossible to miss the evidence of the truth of this scripture. There is no way to reflect back over that journey without being reminded of all the people God has used along the way. I am literally moved to tears as I think about the men and women who have been willing to sacrifice their time and energy to pour into my life. Without each and every one of them, there is no way I would be where I am today. I am sure there were times when some of those men and women didn’t feel like talking to me. There were probably times when they would have rather gotten a few extra hours of sleep, or watched another movie, or spent more time with their own families. Their willingness to sacrifice some of those things in order to show compassion and love to me revolutionized my personal relationship with God.
Understanding this truth has inspired me to look at my own relationships. Am I being the type of friend, husband, boss, etc. that God is calling me to be? Am I truly loving others the way that Christ loved me, or is my love for others more of a superficial, worldly kind of love? These are tough questions to ask, but if I want others to see Christ in me then these questions are necessary. The truth of the matter is that loving people the way Christ loves us takes intention and effort. It isn’t always easy. It requires us to give up some of our time, money and energy. It might mean answering the phone late at night when you would much rather go to bed. It might mean giving financially to a point that makes you feel a little uncomfortable.
We are all called to sacrifice different things, but the good news is that the sacrifice is never wasted. God is able to take those acts of unconditional love, and use them as a means to convict the world around us of His presence in their lives. One small sacrificial act of love towards another human being can cause a ripple effect into eternity. What if every person reading this post today actively sought out an opportunity to sacrifice something in their own life to show love to another person. All of those tiny ripples combined could produce a wave of God’s love that carries on into eternity.