How do you know when your faith is strong? When your discipleship is healthy? When you’re growing in Christlikeness? When you’re in-step with the Spirit? How do you know that you’re getting the point? That you’re on the trail and keeping straight?


A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (Joh 13:34-35)
If I…have not love, I gain nothing. (1Co 13:3-8)
And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets." (Mat 22:37-40)
If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well. (Jam 2:8)
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. …For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Gal 5:6, 14)
So…since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church. (1Co 14:12)
For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Rom 13:9)
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more. (Phi 1:9)
The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (1Ti 1:5)
No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. (1Jo 4:12)

Love. The Spirit produces love. In the language of 2 Peter 1, partaking in the divine nature results in real love; believing the very great and precious promises of God results in real love. The Spirit, Jesus, the Gospel, the apostle’s teachings, the Father’s gifts… all produce, result in, overflow as, grow to become… love.

As faith grows it looks more and more like love. At the beginning, faith looks like peace and personal joy. Then, as it grows faith begins to look more like worship and thanksgiving. But when faith ripens and becomes what it is supposed to become, it looks like love.

Why? Consider this practically. What are we being asked to trust God in, or with, or for? Not just our personal struggles but, increasingly, our social ones: family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, clients. People in our lives who move too slow or too fast, are sinful, misunderstand us and say hurtful things, miss important moments and do dumb stuff.

And then it’s not just these personal social problems that concern us. We begin to notice problems that don’t necessarily affect us personally: poverty, injustice, joblessness, abuse and violence, addictions, etc. The circle of faith widens outward, away from our private selves, and into the world of God’s heart.

God calls us to Himself.
God calls us to the people among whom we live.
God calls us to those in our worlds whom we tend to overlook or, noticing, avoid.

This is what God’s heart did in Christ—He did the Father’s will, He came to the lost sheep of Israel, then He took away the sins of the world.
This is what Christ’s heart does in us—we love and praise our God, we disciple our family and church, then we head to Nineveh, come what may.

Faith is the goal, yes. But love is where faith goes.
Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to grow. Don’t be afraid to grow in love.
God will help you. God will help you especially in this.

To Consider and Discuss:
What are you becoming?
To what extent is your faith becoming love?
As Paul prays, “that our love abound still more and more,” what might that mean for you today?

Photo by Maria Teneva on Unsplash