John 13:34-35; 15:9-15
34 “I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. 35 This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.”
9 “As the Father loved me, I too have loved you. Remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy will be in you and your joy will be complete. 12 This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than to give up one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I don’t call you servants any longer, because servants don’t know what their master is doing. Instead, I call you friends, because everything I heard from my Father I have made known to you.
“Woody once risked his life to save mine, and I couldn’t call myself his friend if I wasn’t willing to do the same. Now who’s with me?” *
From insecurity and rivalry, Buzz and Woody moved to genuine friendship as they grew secure in Andy’s love. At the foundation of all Christian faith is a deep trust that God loves us. This was (and is) a remarkable belief. Egyptians, Canaanites, Greeks or Romans—none of them believed their gods loved them. But Christians believe Jesus lived out that belief and showed us how it shapes life for the better. And that belief fundamentally changes how we relate to all other people, those who are close to us and those who are “other.” Jesus told his followers he didn’t call them servants but friends. And the most distinctive response he asked of them was to live in God’s love and to love one another.
- Jesus began John 15:9 with ten key words: "As the Father loved me, I too have loved you." As the moon reflects the sun’s light, our love for others at its best reflects God’s love for us. In what practical ways do you live out your commitment to love God and others? How can your church be, above all, a living model of God's love for all people? To what extent are you able to view self-giving, not self-gratification, as key to the “glory” you seek in life? If a non-religious friend you invite to join you at church says, “Come on—churches make so many claims. How do I know you and your church are on the right track?” what do you say? How well can you and your church live into Jesus' way of answering that question: “This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other”?
Lord Jesus, I want everyone to know I am your disciple. Guide me to live in such a way that the evidence of my commitment to you isn’t argument or cold “truth,” but a life of love reflecting your eternal love for me. Amen.
Jesus was an incredible friend and encourager. He saw the best in everyone no matter what they had said or done. Read 1 John 4:7, 18-21. As a family, think of the people who see the highest potential in each of you. Talk about who cheers you on, builds you up and offers you hope. Create a list of those encouraging people in your lives. What qualities do they have that identify them as encouragers? Find a way to thank those people for their encouragement. Ask how you can be more encouraging to others and live out this quality of Christ. Discuss how can you see the best in people. Pray together, thanking God for seeing the best in you and in everyone. Ask God to help you grow as an encouraging person.
* Buzz Lightyear from https://www.christianquotes.info/movie-quotes/16-fun-quotes-toy-story-movies-share-friends/
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Cathy Bien serves as the Director of Communications at Church of the Resurrection. She and her husband Rick have been members of the church since 1993 and have four adult children.