One Member of Indian Parliament instructed government officials to identify Christians with the symbol of crosses in their necks (chains, pendants, bracelets, rings) and deny them services or privileges offered by the government. Sadly, the politician did not understand that just external marks are inadequate expressions of Christian faith. The real or true mark of a Christian is love. Lord Jesus Christ taught His disciples about a single mark attested by three sources. (John 13:34-35) In fact, it is 360-degree evaluation: evaluation from above, inside – self and others (world).
1) Lord Jesus: This is the first evaluation. Lord will examine, evaluate our discipleship in the context of community. Lord demonstrated His love towards us (humans) as explained by Apostle John. (John 3:16) Apostle John further writes that as disciples we ought to walk in light – loving our brothers and sisters in the Lord. (I John 2:10) The love must be sincere and sacrificial that one should be willing to lay his/her life for brothers and sisters in Lord Jesus Christ. (I John 3:16) Lord uses these parameters or indicators to evaluate disciples.
2) Self-evaluation: Disciples should do self-evaluation using the light of the Word of God and the Spirit of God. The attitude of love, humility, sharing, caring and forgiveness should determine, direct, and dominate relationships among believers. Loving, affirming, encouraging, comforting, and empowering words should be spoken always. Sacrificially working for the welfare and progress of others should be a mark of Christian discipleship. Priority of Kingdom of God, His righteousness and His glory should be a disciple’s pursuit and passion.
3) World: When disciples love one another, the world will mark or attest them as disciples of Lord Jesus Christ. This was the statement by a Roman official quoted by Tertullian (16-225 AD): “See, how these Christians love each other.” Yes, the world should certify us as disciples by our behaviour towards fellow Christians and Church Unity. Lord Jesus prayed and desired unity among His disciples. (John 17:21)
Will I pass this test of love?