January 29, 2019
By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
From Our “Here”…
Are you human? The above inscrutable title aims to find out.
Such phrases can pop up when you send a “friend” request on Facebook or try to establish any number of online connections.
Randomly generated synthetic slogans combine their impenetrable meaning with their nearly impenetrable visual structure. Letters swirl beneath a moire pattern. If you’re human, you’re supposed to be able to discern these byzantine bons mots and keystroke them accurately in a convenient pop-up window.
But here’s the rub—a computer is generating these phrases to make sure you’re not a computer. So the question naturally arises: If it takes a computer to set up this whole scenario, doesn’t it make sense that there are computers that can respond correctly when so prompted? Isn’t it just possible that some percentage of your Facebook “friends” or other social media contacts have silicon-based circuitry for brains?
Perhaps this whole idea of needing to verify your humanity has you thinking about other aspects of your personhood. Because in the rush of life, it’s easy to put yourself into a sort of autopilot and become somewhat less than human in the process.
You’ve been there. You come home from a day at the office completely fried. Your kids or your spouse or even your dog takes one look at that glazed expression on your face and figures it would be prudent to leave you in your little zombie world.
And yet, even when they give you that space, those closest to you really hope you’ll give off some signs of life. Some reassuring reminder that all is still well with the world.
The same holds true in our culture at large when it comes to the way Christians are perceived. No matter how jaded or even hostile someone is toward religion, there is a part of them that finds comfort in watching people of faith navigate life. And they want to know that what they observe is the real deal.
Are you who you say you are?
…To God’s “There”
Jesus had a very succinct solution for publicly verifying your connection with Him, and it requires no randomly generated codes to decipher and answer. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).
Love is the foundation for every legitimate expression of ministry. AGWM missionaries first seek to establish loving relationships with the people they serve before they try to announce or validate any theological truths. Without love, without relationship, even proclaiming the gospel becomes empty rhetoric.
Making the Leap
Your consistency in treating others with Christ’s love is your most important personal characteristic in any walk of life. If God directs your steps to the ends of the earth, your love for others will begin communicating the truth of the gospel long before you become adept at expressing yourself cross-culturally or in a different language.