Regardless at what age you decided to follow Jesus, you have habits, routines, and patterns that must be undone, or they will work against your spiritual development.
Discipleship is critical because it’s the transforming process of becoming a new creation, and every blessing comes to us via the path of obedience.
It’s not that God dangles His blessings before us like a carrot, but this new way of life produces God’s promised blessings in our life.
Any attempt to blend our new life in Christ with our old ways of thinking and living will dilute our faith, and we will not experience God’s blessings.
Every command and instruction the Bible gives, Jesus modeled for us. For example, in John 13, Jesus is preparing the disciples for His departure, and He tells them, “A new command I give you, love one another.”
If you’re familiar with the Bible, you may recognize that love is not a new command. The Mosaic law mandated two love commandments.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Deuteronomy 6:5
“…but you shall love your neighbor as yourself…“ Leviticus 19:18b
Love is as critical to our total health and well-being as oxygen is to our body. Clinical psychologists highlight the power of love by saying, “Love is probably the best antidepressant.” One such study suggests “the less love you have, the more depression you are likely to experience in your life.” [i]
The need to love and to be loved is by God’s design. Genuine love fulfills the giver as much as the receiver.
1 Corinthians 13 describes what authentic love looks like. 1 John 4:8 says that God is love. This means that when you read 1 Corinthians 13, you can input God everywhere you read the word love and see His character and nature.
- God is patient.
- God is kind.
- God is not envious.
- God is not boastful.
- God is not proud.
- God is not rude.
- God is not irritable.
- God forgives our sins, remembering them no more.
- God never gives up on you!
God’s laws and commands are directly tied to His covenant. He doesn’t make up rules haphazardly. His instructions are designed to prosper us and maximize joy and peace in life
So, in John 13, Jesus establishes a new covenant through His death and resurrection. Consequently, their old ways of doing things will no longer work.
That’s why He taught “old wine” will not fit into new wine sacks, and a “new patch” cannot be sown onto an old garment. This new covenant established is centered on His love for them.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
As we enter a relationship with God through Jesus, we have a new way of living. Jesus’ command to love goes beyond what is intrinsic to human nature. The Greek word for love in John 13 is agape. Agape love is in a category all by itself.
Agape love is a sacrificial love that gives for the well-being of another. It finds joy in giving and doing for others without consideration of reciprocation.
The new application of the love commandment was “one another,” regardless of country or culture. And for Christians, this call to love identifies us as His disciples.
When people come to church or engage with Christians, they should be hit by this unusual, crazy kind of love they have never seen before. Love transcends all barriers that might otherwise divide.
Most people are drawn to those of the exact likeness.
- Those of the same political persuasion.
- The educated to the educated.
- The wealthy to the wealthy.
- Culture to culture.
In Jesus, there are no barriers that authentic love cannot overcome.
As we strive to live for Jesus’ legacy, we are called to a higher love. A love that;
- Gives sacrificially.
- Unveils the character and nature of God to the world around us.
- Identifies us as His followers.