Last year, as I began write songs for a new worship album, I was reminded of Jesus’s words to his disciples as he was meeting with them for the last time in the upper room.
John 13: 34-35
“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
That verse always stops me in my tracks. It’s convicting, really. Jesus is essentially telling his disciples to show the kind of love that he showed to them, and this would be the defining mark by which people would recognize them. When I read this verse I began wondering, what kind of love is that, anyway? What kind of would cause someone outside the faith to look at the way I treat others and say, “There’s something different here. This person must be a follower of Jesus.”
A love of that kind certainly isn’t what comes naturally. Jesus is patient, kind, gentle, and humble, but not me. My tendency is to be hurried, short-tempered, selfish, and clumsy. Without God’s grace, our hearts bend naturally towards serving ourselves and ignoring those around us. Thankfully, Christ’s sacrifice enabled us to live with bold, courageous love. His desire is to fill us up to overflowing with the same kind of love that he showed to his disciples. It’s a love that brings hope instead of despair. It brings healing where there is brokenness. It shows forgiveness instead of causing shame. It’s a love that gives freely even nothing is received in return. It’s relentless, life-changing, and destiny altering.
Together with fellow worship leader James Tealy, I wrote the song “The Way You Love” as a prayer that God will fill us up with his perfect, character-defining love. It basically says, “God, teach me to be a better reflection of who you are. Show me how to love like you do.” That’s our challenge as God’s church: to show His love, a love that never fails.