There are few words in our language that are abused as much as the word Love. It is too often thought of as merely an emotion and sometimes it is, sadly, only a passing emotion. In the entertainment industry it is often nothing more than sexual infatuation. A person may appear to be a loving person, but that is sometimes found to be a facade that hides the real person. I recently heard the phrase, “Love is a verb,” indicating that it is an action word. That is true. However, unfortunately it is possible to perform all the actions that have an appearance of loving, but they may actually be very self-serving.
Someone said that we so often do not love things or people themselves, but we love the feelings they give us. “Chocolate makes my taste buds happy!” “That new outfit makes me look good!” “That new car drives so beautifully and adds to my prestige!” “My spouse does things to please me!” Love can be, and all too often is, a selfish kind of love. It’s easy to love for our own benefit; to make ourselves feel good. As long as our spouse, or our friend, or our child, makes us happy, we find it easy to ‘love’ them. But when they fall short of our expectations, the ‘love’ gets sorely strained.
So, what is it that really motivates our love for another person?
The Love the Scriptures talk about is AGAPE – that Divine Love that issues from the heart of God. That means UNCONDITIONAL, UNSELFISH, SACRIFICIAL Love. We’re talking about not just being willing to DIE for the loved one, but willing to LIVE for the loved one. To lay down our lives daily for those we Love. To Love the unlovely.
Paul asserts, in his classic 1 Corinthian 13 treatise on such Love, that
—we may speak like an orator,
—we may know all about and understand most everything,
—we may generously give all we have to feed the poor,
—we may have enough faith to move a mountain, and
—we may even offer ourselves to the flames as a martyr,
BUT if we do not have that Holy Spirit-bestowed Agape, we are nothing!
And it profits us nothing! Paul says – “absolutely nothing!”
Paul goes on to describe Agape:
—it is longsuffering and kind!
—it is not envious or jealous!
—it is not prideful or selfish!
—it is not easily provoked
—it takes no account of wrong-doing!
This kind of Love rejoices only in the truth!
—it bears all things!
—it believes all things!
—it hopes all things!
—it endures all things!
In spite of his call to follow Jesus, the impatient Peter had returned to his fishing business. But the risen Savior met him on the shore of Galilee and posed to him this crucial question: Do you ‘agape’ Me more than these (fish)?” Can we say we Love Him more than our work, our career, our home, our pet project? And is that Love then presented to others according to God’s priority list?:-
—first and foremost the Lord our God with all our “heart, soul, mind and strength;”
—then our spouse and family;
—”the brethren” and the world around us?
Jesus’ last commandment was to “LOVE ONE ANOTHER – AS – HE – HAS LOVED – US!”
Have we really thought about what that means? (John 15:12)
All of that is very daunting and, let’s face it, impossible – in or by ourselves! Our own human love falls short! We need an infusion of Agape from the very Spirit of God Who IS Agape. “We love Him because He first loved us.” declares the Apostle John. God is LOVING! God LOVES! “And we have known and believed the Love that God has to us. God IS LOVE! And he that dwells in Love dwells in God, and God in him.” This is AGAPE, and we receive it only through the Holy Spirit. John added, “If we Love one another, God lives in us, and His Love is perfected in us.” Our HOPE is set in this alone.
(1 John 4:7-19)
In the words of Ephesians 3:19, I pray that you will “EXPERIENCE the LOVE OF CHRIST which PASSES KNOWLEDGE.”
“May God, the giver of HOPE,
fill you with continual joy and peace because you trust in Him—
so that you may have abundant HOPE
through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
(Romans 15:13 Weymouth)
In Agape, Eulene