So Shall Men Know That You Are My Disciples

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Today more than ever before, there are so many believers lamenting or complaining about one another and their relationships. Believers disappointed in other believers; it is so bad now that even marriages are falling apart like never before and a good number of those that seem to be together are so bad they might as well not be together. Instead of us loving one another, we seem to be doing better at frustrating one another and making each other’s life miserable like never before. Could it be that life itself is throwing more evil at us than it has ever done, making our patience thinner than ever or have the challenges we face with one another increased because of the level of carnality or increase in the number of false brethren in the church today? Could it be that our sense of propriety is so low or is there a major increase in selfishness and/or self-centeredness amongst believers? Well, whatever the challenges, this is certainly not what Jesus Christ had in mind when He said His disciples would be identified by their love for one another. The relationships we have today, appear to be more self- serving than anything else. Everyone is looking out for themselves and no one is looking out for the other.

John 13: 35 “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples”

Proverbs 27: 17 “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”

I don’t think anyone expects all our relationships to be perfect all the time, not even Jesus Christ does. I guess that is one of the reasons the bible also deals with relationship issues. Paul’s letters, especially to Timothy and Titus, are full of counsel for relationships. Moreover, for iron to sharpen iron, they will have to rub against one another which isn’t comfortable. Depending on the extent to which they rub against one another, there may even be sparks. So when we rub against one another, it could get rough. However, we seem to have gone away from all that God ever planned; we willfully and deliberately destroy one another. We are so dishonest and insincere with one another that we could even teach “the world” the art of insincerity and dishonesty. This is not in any way in alignment with the teachings of Christ and not a reflection of Christ. We claim to love so much yet our disposition toward those we call “friend” could more often be likened to hate. We don’t only stab them, but also twist the knife in the victim to ensure they suffer great pain and then we make excuses pretending to be sorrowful and the victim must forgive immediately otherwise we are offended. We even go so far as to push for a re-establishment of the relationship to just what it was and if the victim isn’t responding as we think they should, they are “unforgiving, judgmental, wicked and unloving”. We demand their trust instead of seeking to earn it just because we said “sorry” and especially because they are believers. This attitude or level of selfishness is totally out of sync with Christlikeness; if anything, it speaks of flesh which should make us weary because man in himself is said to be so fickle we are admonished not to trust him because he is bound to fail us.

Jeremiah 17: 5 “This is what the Lord says: cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord.”

Jude 1: 19 “These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.”

Philippians 2: 3 “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.”

It is time to begin to check our contributions to all our relationships. You may want to call it an audit of what you give to your relationships and see if your expectations are much higher than your contributions so that you can properly align them. Indeed we are to give more than we expect so that if both parties are giving more than they expect to receive from each other, they are esteeming the other better than themselves. There is no doubt that that some relationships must die; those are they which we need just for experience through which we learn patience whilst some others were never meant to last forever: but there is no relationship between believers that is meant to be destructive. It is not in the nature of Christ to destroy those He loves so if we claim to be like Him, we should also not desire to destroy anyone that is His. The state of a lot of our relationships now is pitiful and that is tied to the quality of believers that we are. We don’t deal with one another as we ought to which is sad. Unfortunately, that is what we will have to continue to deal with in the church because change will only come to the extent that we yield to God or allow His Word change us.

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