During vacation, I was looking for a dress at Ross (Dress for Less) not too long ago. I went through each aisle that had my dress size and diligently searched until I found what I was looking for. As I was searching through the rack, this dress caught my eye and I said to myself, “This looks like a Calvin Klein dress”. So, I pulled it down, checked the tag, and sure enough, it was Calvin Klein. How did I know it was a Calvin Klein dress? It’s because I’m familiar with the brand and its identity. I could tell by the design, the color pattern, the quality of the material, and the make of the dress that this was Calvin Klein. It is because the brand has a strong identity. One of the reasons why branding is important is because it creates recognition. Branding creates emotion and expectation. It is an identifying mark that sets something apart from everything else.
Do you know that Christians also have an identifying mark? In John 13:35, an identifying mark is given to help us recognize a disciple, a follower of Jesus. It says “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.” The love that we show for another is a brand identifying mark as a disciple. It’s how we know without a doubt that a person is a Christian.
The Greek word for love that is used in this verse is Agape. But what is Agape love? Agape love is not a feeling, it is a love that is active. It is God’s unmatched, immeasurable love for us. It is unconditional, selfless, and sacrificial. Unconditional love is a love with “No strings attached”. It is a love that’s given freely and a love that isn’t based on what someone does for you in return. There are no expectations, no obligations, no ulterior motives, and no conditions. This is God’s love for us, and this is the love that He commands us to have with one another.
In 1 Corinthians 13, two words are given to describe what love is. Love is patient and love is kind. The words that are describing what love is, are action words. If someone truly loves you, their love will be evident by how they treat you. John 3:16 tells us "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,". God did not send his son as a prize for being obedient but rather as a sacrifice for the salvation of sinners. What amazing love!
As we bask in the blessing of God’s love for us, let us through the infilling of the Holy Spirit be loving towards others. Let our loving words and actions towards one another be the identifying mark that demonstrates the transformation that has taken place inside our hearts through our experience with Jesus!