Forgotten Mark Of A True Disciple?

Remember the song, “They will know we are Christians by our love, by our love…?”

This song comes from a verse in John 13:35: By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.

Most Christians have probably heard this verse or heard about it. It’s one of the main ways the world can see something different in the followers of Jesus – that they love one another. It’s an awesome verse and one that helps us model Christian community. In one single sentence, this verse helps the entire church, a unique body of people who cluster together in thousands of little gatherings assembled across the globe in the name of Jesus. Even with a wide span of age, socioeconomic status, languages, and opinions, followers of Jesus over two millennia have learned to love each other and through this, have shown the world that they are his disciples.

I recently read through the book of John and was struck by another verse indicating another crucial mark of a true disciple. John 15:8 says “When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples.”

So, comparing these two verses, it’s more than just loving each other, it’s arranging our lives and ministries to produce fruit. The crux of John 15 is that without being connected to Jesus we can’t accomplish anything. I would say that goes for loving others too. These two things probably go head in hand. If we do good things but don’t love each other, the good things are overshadowed – we become clanging cymbals and the message is muddled at best.

But bearing fruit is an important aspect to the life of every believer. Without it, we can’t be true disciples.

It’s easy to say we love each other. But what about this other mark?  Are you bearing fruit?  Can you and others around you point to what has been accomplished so the world can know you are a true disciple?

Sometimes in our modern, mainline church, we tend to think of faith being personal and private. But producing fruit isn’t private. It’s available for others to see and experience.

Our lives must produce fruit.  It’s important. Jesus brings it up all the time. The branches that don’t bear fruit are cut off. The trees that don’t bear fruit are cursed and removed from the garden. Without bearing much fruit, you cannot be a true disciple.


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