There are a lot of angry voices in the world. In the news, in politics, social media - you hear them everywhere. Many of these voices claim to be followers of Jesus. It can be so confusing.

Fortunately, Jesus told us how we can spot a real follower of his. This is what Jesus said: “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 (CSB) The idea here is: love is something one does - it can be seen. These loving actions are a true marker of a follower of Jesus.

In the letter that James, the brother of Jesus, wrote in the New Testament, he says explicitly that this is so. James wrote: “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that —and shudder. You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.” (James 2:14-22 NIV)

The apostle John agrees with James when he wrote: “We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, ‘I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:3-6 NIV)

What then did Jesus command? How did Jesus live? The apostle John in his gospel gives us the answers to these questions.

John wrote that Jesus said, “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:10-12 NIV)

You can spot a true Christian if they are a loving person who follows Jesus — who is learning to love like Jesus loved. This is how Jesus lived.

Love grows in a Christian like a fruit. It may start small, but it certainly grows. I encourage all Christians to obey Jesus’ command to love one another, growing this fruit. And I encourage all those who are seeking the real and living God to look for Christians who love like Jesus commanded. They can help you know the Truth.

Rev. Steven Ganz, pastor of Clover Pass Community Church.


Perspectives is a regular column sponsored and written by members of the Ketchikan Ministerial Association.