Identity Check

“Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7 NIV

“Love can be imitated, but is not convincing until it looks and feels to others like God’s love.”

My thoughts today are about “an identity check.”

I was just on the phone with my bank requesting information about my account. Very politely, the customer service representative asked me to verify my identity – my account number, mailing address, and then the last four numbers of my Social Security number. Were they suspicious or distrusting? No, just careful about protecting my personal information. Once they knew that I was who I claimed to be, full access was granted. Life is like that. For meaningful access into a person’s life, they will require some confirmable proof of who you are for real.

You are asked to do that everyday in one manner or another. Everyone who relates to you as family or friend, interacts with you as a neighbor or fellow worker, does business with you, or identifies you as Christ-follower are watching to see if your speech, attitudes, values, actions, and lifestyle verify that you are who you say you are. The Bible makes their verification simple: Whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:7-8 TEV. That sounds pretty straightforward; if you love, you know God; if you don’t, you won’t!

Love – authentic, practical, and observable love – is the indisputable way people verify your spiritual identity. You might offer other options such as: going to church, being a good moral person, doing good deeds, being generous and benevolent, etc, but those can be counterfeited. Real love is described as: patient, kind, humble, selfless, good natured, sacrificial, forgiving, truth-loving, undaunted, terminally hopeful, tirelessly persevering, and endless – not one or some of those, but all of those! Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-8/13 NIV.

Love can be imitated, but is not convincing until it looks and feels real to others, like God’s love. It can accurately be said, “People will not care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Those around you at home, or work, or play are waiting to see the convincing testimony of a truly loving life. It is never who you claim to be; it is always about who you are personally known to be in fact and practice. “And may the Lord make your love grow and overflow to each other and to everyone else, just as our love overflows toward you.” 1 Thessalonians 3:12 NLT.

Love is not merely emotional; it is primarily volitional, your consistent choice to express the love you have received, demonstrated toward others in the same selfless measure love was given to you. Jesus said that above every other attribute, love will be the distinguishing element of those who claim His name. “As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 NIV. Ask yourself this question, “If I were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough witnesses and evidence to convict me?” That’s rather provoking to consider. What’s your answer? What would your family and friends say?

My prayer for you today is that you are loving toward others as God is toward you.