a new commandment i give to you, that you love one another: just as i have loved you, you also are to love one another. by this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” [john 13:34-35]


how do people know you’re a disciple of Christ before you ever tell them? i think this is something we should all contemplate from time to time. we’re so prone to wander from the mission of Christ.


if i’m being honest, here’s a short list of ways i’d like to be recognized as a Christ-follower, other than love:

  • knowledge of scripture
  • competency
  • my spiritual giftings
  • ability to meet people’s needs
  • being culturally relevant


would anyone else rather be known for something other than love? we’re so quick to highlight our own giftings and make being a disciple of Christ about us, rather than about him. 

often, loving others is a pretty thankless job. we’d much rather do something that has a guaranteed return. Christ calls us to something higher…and harder. he calls us to love one another, but not on our terms, as he has loved us. in the greek, the word “new” means fresh. God is giving us a fresh command to love radically like Jesus.

we are to lay down our preferences, consider others greater than ourselves, speak the truth lovingly, and use our resources and our time for the edification of others. does that sound like how the world loves? it shouldn’t.

this type of love transcends cultural norms and political ideals. it should look very different. oftentimes we as christians look just the same as everyone else, why? there are a lot of reasons, but one of the big ones is that loving others as Christ loves us requires sacrifice. we don’t always get to see a “return on investment” for this sacrifice on this side of heaven. we can be so small-minded in our thinking, considering the present more important than eternity.


pray this week that the Lord softens your heart to love others as he loves you. ask him to give you eyes to see people as he does. call on his name to help you desire to be known by your love and not by any other temporary giftings you may have.

if we could get past ourselves to love one another, what radical work could the Spirit do in us? let’s plead for this together!


~ erin boettge