What would happen if followers of Jesus actually began living in such a manner as to demonstrate the love of God toward their neighbors? What would that look like, and what would be the impact upon those living in our communities?
Surely, there is nothing new about loving one’s neighbor. The concept is older than Christianity itself. We find it firmly rooted amongst God’s commands to Moses (Leviticus 19:18), and it is clear from both the biblical record as well as Church history that Jesus and His disciples took this command quite seriously. But do we, His Church, take this command as seriously today as our brothers and sisters did in the past?
The world around us is in desperate need, longing to understand if life offers any meaning in the midst of so much pain and suffering. When we, Jesus’ followers, openly demonstrate the same love to others that we received from Christ, hope is restored. Light begins to shine in the darkness. Life can indeed take on meaning and significance.
There is a movement spreading across this country of ours . . . a movement that emphasizes the importance of reigniting that passion to love our neighbors. It is sprouting up in many different forms, adapting to local environments and culture. In some neighborhoods, it is represented by people from the same church reaching out to those in need. In other communities we find several churches coming together in unity in an effort to reach the unreached with the love of God. But wherever it blossoms, the DNA is always the same—people loving their neighbors as Christ has loved them.
Yet the question remains: Will this movement lead to change in the way that we do church? Is it possible that some sort of reformation might be in the works?
From my perspective, there is only one response to these questions: We must become fully obedient to that ancient mandate to love our neighbors, no matter the cost. And if change within the Church becomes necessary, then let us choose obedience over tradition and personal comfort. Let us take up the Royal Law to which our brother James referred (James 2:8), and for the sake of those who do not know the love of God, throw ourselves into the breach with a willingness to make whatever changes might be necessary in order that our neighbors would not only come to know the love of Christ, but would themselves become disciple makers in His name.
Lyle Randles, Chairman, Life Connections International
From The Incarnational Church: Catching Jesus’ Radical Approach for Advancing His Kingdom