Do you know what the Bible says is the mark of a Christian? Our views on abortion or homosexuality? Or involvement in a Bible believing church? Our stance on salvation? No. Our convictions are important. But the mark of a Christian is love. When we can live a life of love, people do take notice. When we can overcome our differences of denominations, race, culture, etc. & truly love each other, non believers may think: "Maybe there really is something to this Christianity thing."
Jesus prayed for all of us before He was arrested:
"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one. Father, just as you are in me & I am in You. may they also be in us so that the world may believe that You have sent me, that they may be in me as we are one: I am in them & you are in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent me & have loved them even as You have loved me."
John 17:20-23 (NIV)
In The Mark Of A Christian, Francis Schaeffer explains that if we really love each other, the world is drawn to Christ. But if we don't the world dismisses us as just another club.
Love is the mark of a Christian because God is love.
"God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, & God in Him."
I John 4:16b (NIV)
It's one thing to make a pledge to the Lord in a single moment. It's another thing to truly make a lifelong commitment to Him, day after day, after day. But when you choose to live consistently in the love of God, then that love will be complete in you.
I understand that it can take time to know God's heart & to trust His goodness. It takes getting quiet in order to hear Him. It takes a child like trust to hold on to His hand. But once you have experienced His faithfulness, you will never want to let go & walk away. God's love does not mean freedom from trouble, but the knowledge that when trouble does come, God will not abandon nor betray us. His perfect love cast out fear because we know He is coming & that His love is here to stay.