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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

The 21 Day Experiment - Day 13: The Proof of Devotion

by Marilynn Chadwick

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35 (NIV)

New! Don't you just love the sound of that word? New songs, new homes, new seasons, new beginnings. Each kind of new carries its own special magic. New comes with a promise to erase the past. New comes without baggage or wear and tear. New seems so...well…easy. That is, at first. Then, reality sets in. New must be maintained. And eventually, new becomes old. New becomes worn. Because new cannot last.

"A new command, I give you" Jesus tells his disciples (v. 34). Can you imagine how they perked up their ears? They had seen him do amazing things. And now, he had something new for them. Wonder what it was? Would it promise power, or glory, or greatness?

The word translated new in this passage means "novel, fresh, unused." It points to something previously unknown, unprecedented, never before known to exist." So just what was this new command? Jesus simply says: "Love one another." (v. 34) What? That’s it? Any good Jew knew love was commanded. Loving God. Loving one’s neighbor (Leviticus 19:18). What was new or novel about that?

But let’s look at the context. Jesus had just given the disciples a hands-on lesson on servanthood by washing their feet. Rather shocking, since foot-washing was a task reserved for the lowliest servant—something akin to scrubbing toilets. Why would the King of Kings stoop that low? While the commandment to love was not new, to love as demonstrated by the self-sacrifice of Jesus was unprecedented.

Self-sacrifice. Laying down one's life for another. Serving in a way that costs something. Becoming less than so someone else can be greater. This kind of love never goes out of style. Never wears out. Never fails.

I've been pondering the weight of this “new” commandment. It’s my watchword for today: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (vv. 34-35).

I’m not sure I fully grasp all that it means, but I know this love is costly. Maybe it means serving in secret so someone else can shine. Or sacrificing my "want to" for the sake of another.

This much I do know. It starts at home. With my husband and children. If I can't live out this new command where no one is watching, nothing else matters. Jesus tells us that as we do these things, we will be "blessed" (v. 17). But even greater is his promise that when we dare to love in this new way, "all men will know that you are my disciples..." (v. 35).

Friends, this is your witness today...your testimony. Your willingness to follow this new command. Would you dare to love one another? Let's begin at home. There's a hurting and broken world out there that's watching.

If you're interested in learning more about the 21 Day Experiment, please visit to request a copy of Sometimes He Whispers, Sometimes He Roars by Marilynn Chadwick.

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