A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” -John 13:33-34 ESV
How do we know? How do we know anything? God calls us to discernment. We are called to KNOW. He tells us that the Devil masquerades as an angel of light, and He tells us that ‘sheep know the shepherd’s voice. (2 Corinthians 11:14, John 10:27) Discernment is the ability to judge well. In Christian contexts it is perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtaining spiritual guidance and understanding. ‘Birdwatchers’ know that there are about 9-10,000 species of birds, although some claim the number is actually twice as much, closer to 18,000 and what watchers of birds use to distinguish birds are their characteristics. By knowing the colors, shapes, markings, spots, stripes, size…they know what bird they are seeing. A good Birdwatcher has knowledge and discernment to spot a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.
Leader, Jesus tells us that the distinguishing marker of a true follower of His is LOVE for one-another. Love is a nominalization, in other words- you can’t put it in a wheelbarrow. It is a generalization and we can love our spouses, and we can love chocolate cake, however our first LOVE is to be JESUS. One word, love, that has so many different meanings, to so many different people. Love is a VERB; it is NOT a feeling. For God so loved the world He did something about it. For you so love God…DO YOU DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT? What are the distinguishing characters of a Blood-bought saint of the Risen King? How do you know if you are in the presence of, or looking at a TRUE FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST? If being a follower of Jesus Christ is illegal, would there be enough evidence to convict you? How would people know if they are looking at a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, or a follower of our LORD? What are those characteristics?
Conduit, God gives us this litmus test in the BE-ATTITUDES. These are attitudes, choices, things that a follower of Jesus are seeking, are moving toward, are wanting to become. These are ATTITUDES that God wants us to BE. The Gospel of Matthew, the Sermon on the Mount- chapters 5-7- gives us, in the beginning- those attitudes that we are to seek, to desire, to work toward so that others can discern; “That person is a Christian”; A follower of Lord Jesus. Those who are poor in Spirit and realize their need for him, those who mourn, those who are humble, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, those who are merciful, those whose hearts are pure, those who work for peace, those who are persecuted for doing right by honoring the WORD OF GOD! Do you seek after these things? Do you hunger and thirst to be like this? Is there enough evidence that someone with wisdom and discernment can spot you and say, “There is a follower of JESUS?” The Time is NOW to become that BIRD!