During the Last Supper, Jesus invited His followers to share in His identity as one loved by God and sourced with the love of God. He knew His time on earth was ending, and He said to them,
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love… My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you (John 15:9,12 NIV).
Jesus’ identity as a disciplemaker was fueled by love, and so is ours. In the same way disciplemakers must first be disciples, loving people to Christ first requires us experiencing the personal and intimate love of God.
Andrew Murray puts it this way:
As one who is redeemed by Jesus, you are His delight, and He directs all His desire to you with the longing of a love that is stronger than death and which many waters cannot quench. The heart of Jesus yearns for you, desires your fellowship and your love in response to His love. Were it needed, He would willingly die again for you. As the Father loves the Son totally and utterly, so Jesus loves you. He has bound up His life in yours; you are more indispensable to Him, more precious to Him, than you know. You are one with Him. As the Father loves Him, so He loves you. What a love!
You are loved. Let’s soak in that truth.
Our call as disciplemakers cannot be separated from our identity as ones loved by God. Being loved completely and unconditionally is both a stand-alone reality and a motivation for loving others. Consider that Jesus’ ability to love is borne entirely out of the love the Father has for him. Because God loves us with a deep and immeasurable love, we are empowered with the same kind of love. We give only out of the reservoir of what we have received.
1 John 4:7 directs us, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
This call to love reveals our great need for Jesus. On our own, we are completely incapable of loving others unconditionally. Yet Christ invites us to “remain in his love.” By immersing ourselves in His presence and love, we cling to the source of love and are filled with it, enabling us to spend it on others.
Just as our very breath is inhaled then exhaled, we receive the love of God so we can live a life of love toward others. Our identity and mission are wrapped up in love.