John 12:1-2 NAS
(1) This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. (2) Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
One of the greatest joys in this life is being with friends, especially friends who know and love Jesus. When we’re together we’re excited to see each other, we talk freely about how our Lord and Savior is working in us and in those around us. As we share our trials and bear one another’s burdens, we are at peace reminding ourselves that “All things work together for good to them that love God.” Romans 8:28 KJV
At times in our lives, we may be called away to new adventures where we don’t know the people around us. It is comforting to know that we are likely to find our spiritual brothers and sisters in church, however, when churches are closed it is a greater challenge to connect with those whom we share Christ in common. The greatest hardship of all comes from being separated from each other, relying only on our own strength to carry us through hardships and everyday life. This is a time when the enemy seeks to destroy our walk and our testimony. We may be tempted to abandon our faith and return to our fleshly desires.
Finding refuge in God’s Word gives us hope. We learn from Paul’s teaching what it means to be isolated from friends, in his letters, Paul identifies the trials he endures and acknowledges those he loves and misses. Even in hardship, he presses on for the cause of Christ. In most of Paul’s letters, his words urge us to greet one another in love. In 2 Corinthians 1:11 he writes, “Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”
When we are strangers in foreign lands how will we know who our Christian brothers and sisters are? One of my favorite songs tells us that we will know they are Christians by their love by their love and they’ll know we are Christians by our love. Yeah, they will know we are Christians by our love.
Galatians 5:13 NAS
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.