“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”
Since our earliest days we have undergone testing for just about everything imaginable. We have undergone academic tests, medical exams, personality profiles, and more.
I’ve noticed lately that there are pop culture personality tests that supposedly reveal certain personality traits or tendencies. Among them there is the Barbie Doll test. I suppose that’s just for girls. There’s an Animal Test that allegedly reveals the animal that most closely matches your personality. There are even Hollywood Star personality profiles like the Brittany Spears Test and the Charlie Sheen Test. Good luck on those.
In the bible we learn that God has given us some tests to reveal if we are truly in the faith. In today’s selected scripture we find such a test. I’ll call it The Love Test for Christians. This test is designed to reveal if your love for God is genuine.
The Apostle John writes, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” Put simply, if you love God you will love others.
To love God is to strive to keep His commands. “And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” God expects us to love our brothers in Christ and yes, even those who are unlovable.
Do you love God? I’m guessing that your answer is to the affirmative. I’ve never encountered a professing Christian who said they did not love God. But the best way of answering that question is to look at your relationship with your brothers and sisters in Christ.
As a pastor, I witnessed a lot of unloving behavior in the church. Families feuding with families, backbiting, vicious rumors, people refusing to talk to one another, and ill treatment were fairly regular occurrences. Unloving behavior can be found in churches in all sizes and from all denominations. Sadly, God’s ministry is hindered by such unnecessary and abhorrent conduct. More importantly it reveals a lack of love for God and an intentional violation of God’s command to love our brothers.
In some churches there is more loathing than loving. Some of my pastor friends have encountered severe animosity and hatred directed toward them and their families. People within the church grudgingly refuse to give them the support and encouragement they need. Such behavior fails God’s Love Test revealing a lack of love for God.
Most of our divisions and disagreements are petty and have nothing to do with advancing the mission of Christ. One church was split over placement of the piano in the worship center. Some wanted it on the right. Others wanted it on the left. They couldn’t reach an agreement so one of the groups started another church.
A deacon in another church was outraged during a church renovation project when the nail, upon which he hung his hat, was removed. He refused to give another penny to the church until the nail was replaced.
It is true that some people are harder to love than others but that doesn’t relieve us of our responsibility to love them. God loves His church and He expects the same from you. Loving other Christians and, in particular, loving others in your church is not optional.
Do you love God? Then love your brothers and sisters in Christ. If it means swallowing your pride then do it. If it means not getting your way then so be it. Remember, it’s not about what you want. It’s about what God wants. If your feelings have been hurt — then forgive the one who has offended you. Get over it, on with it, and move on for the sake of God’s good purposes.
Don’t fail The Love Test for Christians. To fail to love your brother is to fail to love God.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Are You a Showboat Christian?
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 1 (January – March) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.