Jesus placed such a high premium on the importance of our love for one another that He called it a new commandment. The Old Testament had directed the child of God to love your neighbor as you love yourself (Lev. 19:18). Jesus’ New Commandment takes this a step further. He said we are to love one another just as He (Jesus) has loved us so also are we to love one another (Jn. 13:34-35). So significant is this expression of love that Jesus said this is how people will know that we are His disciples.
A logical result of that kind of Jesus-driven love is that we will live in harmony with one another. And indeed, the Holy Spirit encourages the followers of Jesus throughout the New Testament to be of the same mind toward one another (Rom. 12:16; 2Cor. 13:11; Phil. 2:2; 1Pet. 3:8). Jesus actually prayed for our unity the night before His crucifixion (Jn. 17:21).
My burden for the church, for our church is that as we come out of this Covid season we remain vigilant to stand firm against the schemes of the devil (Eph. 6:11; 1Pet. 5:8-9; Jam. 4:7). We are not ignorant of his plans (2Cor. 2:11). The devil has used Covid against the churches to divide and conquer. From masks to vaccines our love and unity has been attacked relentlessly. Instead, we are to be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3), even in the midst of a pandemic shutdown. So, my call to us, the body of Christ is not that we keep wearing or stop wearing masks, but that we,
“…Put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so must you do also. In addition to all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” (Col 3:12-15 NAS20)
In the grand scheme of eternal life, when we stand before our Lord at the Judgment Seat of Christ, we are not going to be evaluated on how correct we were in our response to the CDC guidelines, we are going to be evaluated on how fully we obeyed the New Commandment. As this season of reopening continues to blossom, may we, by our love for one another, display to everyone that we belong to Jesus.
In Christ our living hope,