“By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35 NASB
That’s it. The evidence of God’s presence among his disciples is their love. I guess some people might be disappointed now, but please hear me out.
In our day and age, many are wondering why God doesn’t reveal himself through great miracles anymore. They are looking for terrifying nature events, awe-striking healings or levitating people. As they’re looking out for such things, they miss the miracles that are surrounding us every day. The miracles, or you could say providences that are revealing to us the true character of God!
You see, miracles like the ones mentioned above have their right of existence, yet they are not always necessary. God knows how to place the fear of him into our hearts without destroying our neighborhood. He will heal us eventually, because there won’t be physical deficiencies in heaven. And levitating people are not needed to feel God’s presence. Thus, all those things are nice, but not of first importance.
What we really need are three things: Peace, Love and Unity. And those are the ways in which God reveals himself to us, because they are not manmade. Rather, they are truly supernatural and I would like to show you why.
Peace As Evidence of God’s Presence
When you are looking at the world and all the terror that’s going on right now, you might be wondering where God is revealing himself through peace. Well, we should be careful not to see the world out of our perspective, for the peace of God is far greater than the hatred of men.
God Never Spoke of Peace Between Men …
When Jesus dwelled among us in his human form, He made one thing clear:
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.” Matthew 10:34-36 ESV
“Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” Luke 12:51 ESV
Therefore, we should not expect the world to be peaceful. Instead, people will be divided as some choose to follow Christ and others to stay in the world. This might sound terrible at first, but as mentioned above, the key is to leave our earthly perspective and to look at the world from God’s point of view.
In the Old Testament, the coming of Jesus is foretold as,
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 NIV
And since Jesus is the Prince of Peace, his reign will be full of peace. The good news is, that we don’t have to wait for Jesus’ return to experience this. Instead, we can already feel this evidence of God’s presence!
… But of Peace Between Men And God
The peace of God is nothing like the temporary peace between nations on earth. It can’t even be compared to it, because Jesus explains,
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:26 NKJV
Our Father gives in ways that are often unfathomable for people who didn’t experience them yet. The peace, Jesus is talking about is no exception. The evidence of God’s presence is found an inward peace and Paul explains it as,
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Romans 5:1 NIV
This peace is an assurance that everything will be okay. It gives rest to our troubled hearts and is grounded in trust and faith. Through this peace, believers can hold their ground and remain confident although being attacked from all sides. It resists pain, loss and even the threats and executions of torture and death!
If you don’t know this peace yet, maybe reading about how God Cares For Us will help you realize that there is nothing you need to worry about.
Such a confidence is indeed supernatural and can be seen in the lives of many believers. I can’t tell you about all of them, but there is one story which I want to share with you.
Peace At Death’s Door
It is the story of Haim and his family and recorded on the pages 118-119 of the book “Jesus Freaks: Martyrs. Stories of those who stood for Jesus: the ultimate Jesus Freaks” by dc Talk and The Voice of the Martyrs. (I am not making any money with this Amazon link. Its only purpose is to show you which book I mean. The link to The Voice of the Martyrs however, I highly recommend checking out. They are an awesome organization, fighting for Christians worldwide.)
The event I’m referring to happened around the 1970s in Cambodia. Haim’s family (all Christians) had been captured by Communists who were eager to shoot them. However, after having them dig their own graves, the executioners allowed them a moment of prayer to prepare themselves for death. After he prayed, Haim exhorted all who were watching to repent and turn to Christ. In that moment, one of his young sons jumped to his feet and ran towards the nearby forest. The Communists wanted to chase after him, but were stopped by Haim who asked to call for his son to return. He shouted,
“Think my son, can stealing a few more days of life, as a fugative in that forest, compare to joining your family here around a grave, but soon free forever in paradise?”
Jesus Freaks: Martyrs, page 119
As a result, his son came back. But as Haim told the executioners that they were ready to go, no one wanted to shoot them. They were all amazed by the confidence of those Christians. They weren’t afraid of death, because they knew in their hearts that it would only guide them home. In the end, they were shot by an officer who hadn’t witnessed the scene and entered into heaven where they now reside in the glorious presence of our Father.
Love As Evidence of God’s Presence
Citing the (most recommendable) movie “God’s Not Dead“, love is the most overused word in the English language. Nevertheless, true love is a gift of our Lord and an evidence of God’s presence. The apostle John knew that when he wrote,
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7 NIV
I would like to show you the truth of this statement by describing to you the three manifestations of true love and how humand on their own fail in all of them.
Love Those Who Love You
The first manifestation is the love for those who love you. This might sound easy at first, but that should change as soon as you read this command of God:
“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:18 NIV
The people who love us are also the ones who can annoy us and although it is not their intention, even hurt us the most. There might be a family member who loves to kiss you all over all the while you hate that. You could also have a family who freely shares embarassing childhood stories with all of your friends or keeps wishing for the time of you being a baby because you were so cute back then. Screaming fangirls and paparazzi fall in the same category.
In all of the above situations, people quickly become indignant. Only those who are filled with the Holy Spirit and seeking God with all their heart are able to resist the urge to bear a grudge. Thus, when you realize that all of the sudden, the love for your fellow men is stronger than your indignation because of them, you can rest assured that this is God wonderfully transformation you on the inside!
In the verse above, God commands that we should love our neighbors as ourselves. This is a command which often seems to be ignored. It doesn’t mean that you are free to hate others if you despise yourself. Instead, it means that you should learn to love yourself the way you are! If you are still struggling with self-acceptance and self-love, then I want to dedicate this chapter entirely to you!
I know how it feels to think that you are nothing but a disappointment or not good enough. Some friends of mine have told me their stories, too, and we all agree that wandering on this path is dangerous. No one can deceive you more than yourself, especially in a world that is filled with hatred. But there is no need for you to feel this way! Look,
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10 NIV
God loves you so much that He sent his Son for you, even while you were (or are) still sinning against him. If He loves you that much, then you are worth more than you can imagine! And those, God adopted into his family, will feel the perfect love of God for the rest of their lives if they just pay attention. Through this evidence of God’s presence in our lives, we will learn to truly love ourselves and to love all others in the same way. That is why I want to encourage you to bravely ask God for a sign of how much He loves you.
If you still don’t feel any better, please Contact Me and I will do all I can to show you how beautiful, perfect and precious you are! The same applies if you are struggling with other things.
Love Those Who Persecute You
This manifestation of God’s love is probably the most commonly known one. However, even though many people can cite Jesus’ command of us turning the other cheek (Matthew 5:38-39), only a few of them are able to put it into action. The rest sees it as unfair or impossible to forgive the sometimes terrible deeds of other people without punishing them for what they have done. How much less will they be able to truly love their enemies!
Well, as Christians we can know about The Perfection of God’s Justice and our renewed hearts agree with Jesus’ declaration,
“If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:46-48 NLT
We know or should at least remind ourselves over and over again of how much God has forgiven us. With this in mind and through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to show love and compassion even to thieves, rapists and murderers. This is also wonderfully seen in the following testimony from the book “Jesus Freaks: Martyrs” which I already cited above. It can be found on the pages 224-225.
If you are still insecure about God’s forgiveness, please read how We Are Forgiven Through the Blood of Christ!, because this is a promise for everyone who believes.
God’s Love Turned Her Conviction Into the Happiest Day of Her Life
In the 1970s, Nijole Sadunaite, who lived (or lives) in Soviet Lithuania, was sentenced to three years in prison for her faith. She described this day as,
“This is the happiest day of my life. I was judged today for the cause of truth and love toward men. What cause could be more important? […]
There exists no greater joy than to suffer for truth and for one’s fellow men. How could I not rejoice when God Almighty has promised that light will overcome darkness and truth will overcome lies!
We must condemn evil, but we must love the man, even the one in error. This you can learn only at the school of Jesus Christ, who is the only truth for all, the only way and the only life. Good Jesus, Your kingdom comes into our souls.”
Jesus Freaks: Martyrs, page 224
When Nijole was later asked about her time in prison, she described it as “romantic” (Jesus Freaks: Martyrs, page 224). Her testimony clearly shows that love is an evidence of God’s presence because without him, her time in prison would definitely not have been romantic! This is why true love can and should without doubt be counted as a God-given wonder.
Unity As Evidence of God’s Presence
The Unity of God is the result of his people being filled with his holy peace and love as we are told by Jesus and Paul:
“I in them and you in me — so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:23 NIV
For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. Ephesians 2:14 NLT
Therefore, true unity can only be accomplished through the Holy Spirit, the presence of God. It is a unity which goes beyond all bounds. Below, I have described two situations in which you can see this wonderful evidence of God’s presence in the lives of his people.
Unity In A Christian Martimony
In our modern culture, the marriage is often seen as a mere contract to receive some tax advantages. However, the Bible tells us that a marriage is to be way more than a just a contract because it says,
This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Genesis 2:24 NLT
This means that there should be a perfect unity between husband an wife, for through entering into the bond of martimony, they become one. This unity can be seen in the relationships of those who fear God. In such relationships, fights are rare and even if the spouses argue with one another, there will always be peace afterwards. Furhtermore, true Chrisitan marriages won’t ever be dissolved before death for Jesus declares,
“Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” Mark 10:9 NKJV
And on top of that, such martimonies are overflowing with harmony. In all those things you can see the presence, blessing and intention of God.
Unity Among Beilevers
Unfortunately, the unity among believers has become a rarity. This applies to believers of the same religion as much as it does to believers of different religions. Through schism, Chrisitans for example are divided into catholics, protestants, baptists and many other subgroups, all claimimg to have the right interpretation of God’s word. And in all of their fights, they forget that this very argument is against the will of God! Everyone who excludes or judges others, because he thinks that they are wrong (or weird), is not living after God’s heart. This, I can frankly say because Paul writes,
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit — just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call — one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Epheser 4:1-6 ESV
We are all one in Christ and should also live like that. You will know that God is with someone, if his or her only desire is to speak about Jesus. Such a person will freely speak to all Christians without favoring one congregation before another. They are like Peter whom we are told of,
Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.” Acts 10:34-35 NIV
That way, they will shine forth God’s light and create unity where there used to be division. This can only be seen through the works of the Holy Spirit and should therefore always be credited to God!
Seek After the Evidence of God’s Presence!
After all the examples above, it should be evident that Peace, Love and Unity are not accomplished by men, but God-given. Please don’t feel bad, when you don’t have peace in your heart, don’t love everyone or don’t live in unity yet. We’re not all of the sudden perfect once we’re born again in the Holy Spirit. Instead, we are being transformed more and more into the likeness of Christ. This we know because Paul says,
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 ESV
If you don’t know what I mean or whant to know more about this topic, there is a collections of three testimonies about Being Born Again which you can read.
Thus, I want to encourage you to seek after all of the wonderful gifts of God that I mentioned above. They might seem insignificant at first but they are the ones that will bring you closer to our heavenly Father. Furthermore, the things that seem insignificant to us are often those, through which God works even greater miracles. It is through Peace, Love and Unity that we can change the world and be a light in the darkness!