Do you ever wonder if you really believe in Jesus? Are you a citizen or merely a tourist in the land of faith? Since you cannot see faith, and since our minds deceive us (remember that romance in Jr. High?), is there a telltale sign we can look for to assess the genuineness of our faith? Jesus said if we love one another as He loved us, others would know.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – (John 13:35)
Not Hallmark card love. It’s the kind of love Jesus extended on the cross, dying to pay a debt we could not. This kind of love (agape love) is an act of personal sacrifice in compassionate response to a need of someone else, with no expectation of any return.
If you find yourself increasingly moved to bless someone else in his need, not out of obligation or guilt, but out of agape love, this is a telltale sign of real faith.
As John wrote:
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: – (1John 3:18-19)
The connection between real faith and sacrificial love is hope. Not wishful thinking, but confidence in the future. When we know we cannot lose, loving sacrifice becomes logical. They could steal from us, hate us, persecute us, sue us or even kill us and it would not change the outcome for us in eternity. We cannot lose. Because we have real hope, it is safe for us to love. Agape love is a sign of faith because it is extended in direct contrast to the “rules” of the world.
Paul was excited and thankful for the new Colossian believers…
…because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel. – (Colossians 1:4-5)
1 John 3:17