In the Jewish culture into which Jesus was born, boys received training in the Torah (the first five books of our Old Testament) beginning at age five or six. While most concluded their training at age thirteen, some continued into their late teen years.
Then a select group, Jewish men who had a passionate desire to study and teach the Scriptures, would continue even further. Most often, these men came from the working class. They were farmers, blacksmiths, tanners and carpenters who worked seasonally in their trade, traveling and teaching in their offseason.
Many of these men had disciples – people who studied under them and traveled with them. The disciples called these men “my master,” which is rabbi in Hebrew.
Beyond a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures, a rabbi was to exemplify how it looked to apply the Word of God to every aspect of one’s life. Disciples would not only study what their rabbi taught, but also carefully observe and seek to emulate how their rabbi lived. They wanted to acquire their master’s character.
Enter Rabbi Jesus: the son of a carpenter, noted at age 12 for His amazing understanding of the Scriptures, joined by a group of followers as He traveled the region teaching the Word of God.
But there was something very different about Jesus.
The way He lived, the way He loved and the miraculous power that flowed from His life exemplified the Word of God in all its fullness. Jesus is the Word of God.
These facts add great meaning to Jesus’ command to His disciples of all generations:
“As I have loved you so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” (John 13:5-6)
Consider the lengths Jesus went to in order to align His ways with His Word: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us” (1 John 4:16). The verse continues: “And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”
There’s one distinguishing mark by which people will know we are Christ-followers: our love for one another. This is not just any love. It’s agape love – the unconditional, pure love of God.
It is also the chief character trait by which God’s children can bring Him glory.
This fact overwhelms me. It challenges me. Most of all, it humbles me. Jesus warned us, “Apart from Me you can do nothing.” Apart from Him we’re like a branch with no vine to our life source.
Yet if we remain in Him we will bear much fruit — especially the fruit of love. About this Jesus said, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples” (from John 15:5-8).
If we’re serious about living for the glory of God, then we must get serious about loving people the way Jesus did.
How is Jesus portrayed when His people don’t love others, when we judge and condemn others? How is He portrayed when we overlook the needs of others? Honestly, it’s heartbreaking. And my heart breaks for the part I’ve played in it.
Yet the amazing news is that loving others as Jesus has loved us is possible:
“God poured His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” Romans 5:5
God poured His love into our hearts when He gave us His Holy Spirit. Now we must nurture that love relationship. We will only love others with the unconditional, pure love of God as we allow God to speak His love for us and to us. “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
This brings us to way #2 of 52 Ways to Glorify God:
#2 Seek to know and believe the love of God.
Consider this one specific suggestion: Ask God to immerse you in a supernatural knowledge and experience of His love.
If you ask for this and believe Him for it, He will do it. His love saturates His Word.
You’ll see it in new places. You’ll understand it in new ways. He will take the knowledge in your head and transfer it to your heart. As you KNOW this love, you will soon find it flowing out of you. People will see that you are His disciple by the way you love Him and love others.
This will bring great glory to God.
You may want to start by meditating on these words God has spoken about you:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with lovingkindness” (Jeremiah 31:3).
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