- Religion and Philosophy
Disciples of Christ
The Christian's Identification Mark
Many of us as Christians spend quite a bit of time focused on the wrong thing. Undoubtedly, we are concerned about what sets us apart or distinguishes us from others - whom we will call the world. Some Christians believe that building mega churches and boasting large membership rolls “is it.” Others believe that supporting radio and television ministries that reach into poor neighborhoods and win many lost souls for the Kingdom of God “does it.” There are also others who are convinced that by showing up each time the church doors are opened and by worshipping in tithes and offering and some other ministry will seal their status as disciples as Jesus Christ.
All of the above are good and in most cases ought to characterize the life of a Christian. However, there is one basic or fundamental attribute of a Christian - which I will call the Christian's identification mark. What is it? What is this secret trademark, if you will?
The Christian's identification mark is LOVE.
Just before His crucifixion, as recorded in the gospel of St. John, Jesus said to his disciples, "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one for another." This is a seemingly simple requirement and yet many of us as Christians fail miserably. Just watch the way we live.
We are overly concerned about ourselves and often forget others in need. Our churches are spotted by groups that sometimes refuse to let others in. Sadly enough, we have Black churches, Hispanics churches and White churches which are located in close proximity to each other, and although some struggle to survive they believe it is better to remain apart than it is to make an effort to unite for the common good.
Additionally, there are those of us who vigorously speak against certain policies and practices in our country and the society - abortion, homosexuality, etc. This we must do, because our value system demands it. However, our disagreements and protests should be punctuated by LOVE.
Love is tangible, but certain good deeds can be void of love. Can you imagine that some may give away much of their wealth to the poor and not have love? Well, yes. The motivation for giving may be far removed from love. Generally, watch how much that person talks about the gift. That's a clue. What about someone sacrificing their life for a cause or group of people? Jesus says that the greatest expression of love is to give one's life for others. Yet, some who venture down the life-giving road may do so for some reason other than love.
Come on fellow-Christians, let us get our names out there as a people who love. It is time for the Christian’s identification mark to stand out above the fray of many things that are non-Christian.
There are too many Christians in our churches who feel unloved by others in the church. There are too many Black Christians who do little to get along with White Christians and vice versa. Admittedly, there is a cultural divide. One group is uncertain how to relate to the other group. That's why there is love - the Christian's identification mark. Love says, "We are different, but we are one." Love reaches out. It moves across the aisle to meet the other half-way. Love is active.
We must work at getting all our fellow-Christians feeling accepted, a part of, and loved. Let's get this show on the road for there is yet a bigger one - reaching the world.
When the bonds of LOVE bind Christians together we will move out as a mighty, powerful and united force. Watch out devil! Let us reach the world - first with love to melt the hearts and prepare them to receive the sweet and precious Word of God.
Onward Christian Soldiers, marching unto LOVE.