Yesterday’s flip calendar said, “May your footsteps set you upon a lifetime journey of love. May you wake each day with His blessings and sleep each night in His keeping. And may you always walk in His tender care.” As I thought on this, a couple of things came to mind. First, this is not a selfish prayer; it’s a prayer for someone else, and a prayer for someone else to have a full abundant life (John 10:10) of love that only Christ can provide.
It brought to mind, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
To fully understand what Jesus is saying here, we must look at it in the context of Jesus’ washing of the disciples’ feet (John 13:2–5). Jesus explained that if the Master acts as a humble servant, so too should those who follow Him (John 13:12–17). Here, Jesus doubles down on that idea by setting His own love as the standard to which all believers should aspire.
Jesus further explains the importance of acting in Christian love. In no uncertain terms, love—especially between fellow believers—is meant to be the primary and most powerful sign of one’s Christian faith (1 John 3:14). “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)
Many aspects of the Christian faith are important enough that they ought not be dismissed. These include sound doctrine (Titus 2:1; 1 Tim 6:3–5) and moral behavior (1 John 1:7; Col 3:1–10). But the gold standard for living out Christian belief, and the means by which believers are to distinguish themselves from non-believers, is expressed in John 13:35.
As Paul expresses in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, nothing is commendable unless it is done out of love (1 Cor 13:1–3). Love must be pursued truthfully and with good judgment (Eph 4:15; John 7:24; 1 John 3:18), but it cannot be set aside under any circumstances if we are truly following Jesus.
Jesus was willing to serve in humility, so if we are truly His disciples we are obligated to do the same. “May your footsteps set you upon a lifetime journey of love. May you wake each day with His blessings and sleep each night in His keeping. And may you always walk in His tender care.”