What’s Your Membership Number?

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For love is of God

And everyone who loves is born of God

And knoweth God

He that loveth not,

Knoweth not God for God is love

Beloved, let us love one another 1st John 4: 7 and 8!

My sister taught me that song and I used to sing it when I was a little girl (I still sing it), before I really understood what it meant. As I grew older, I was taught that love is the foundation of Christianity. 1st John 4: 8 says “…God is love”, and love was what compelled God to send His Son to earth to live as a man; love was what drove Christ to the cross and love was what kept Him on the cross, even when He could have easily stepped down. Love.

I am thankful that God loved me before I even knew Him – He didn’t wait for me to acknowledge and return His love before He offered it to me. We sing about the love of God, we accept it and we rejoice in it. We profess our love for Him and we try to show it by immersing ourselves in church activities – Sunday service, mid-week service, choir practice, prayer meeting and so on and so on. In the midst of this ‘busy-ness’, it is easy not to think about weightier issues.

God commands us to love one another – the kind of love outlined so beautifully in 1st Corinthians 13 “Love is patient, love is kind…it does not boast, it does not envy, is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs…” That kind of love is what God is talking about; brotherly love. God esteems this love so highly that in John 13: 34-36, Jesus said “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (King James Version)

Love is the proof of our discipleship, our club card, our membership number – Love for others is what shows the world that there is something different about us.  But here’s the rub – love can be difficult sometimes. It’s pretty easy to love those that love us, or those that make it easy for us to love them. It’s not as easy to love someone that is difficult to love; that person that consistently misunderstands us, reacts strongly to our mistakes…the one that doesn’t find enough time or attention for us, or irritates us with all their little faults – that person can be hard to love. Should we just be selective and love those that can return our love? No.

The reality test on whether or not we love God's children is this: Do we love God? Do we keep his commands? The proof that we love God comes when we keep his commandments and they are not at all troublesome.” 1st John 5: 3 (The Message)

It is easy to profess our love for God, but does it pass the litmus test of obedience? 1 John 5:3 tells us that if we love God, we will obey His commands. Loving others is a command, it is His command to us as His children. Are we obeying?

Onyih Odunze

*All Scripture quotations are from Bible Gateway.