Before I dive into today's thoughts... let me give you a heads up---I will be tied up over the weekend and unable to blog until Monday. So don't worry if you don't see anything from me for the next couple of days... as the TERMINATOR said, "I'll be back!" ... Or at least that's the plan.
I want to begin a series on LOVE today. I get really bummed out when I hear brothers and sisters in Jesus... and not "rookie believers" but people who have been following Jesus for a long time---talk about "love" in a totally whimpy, watered-down way that empties it of the transforming power it's intended to possess.
There are four Greek words for love (you know the New Testament was originally written in Greek right?)... but ONLY one form really applies to this discussion---AGAPE.
When Jesus commands us to LOVE one another... to LOVE our neighbor and to LOVE our enemies---AGAPE is the type of LOVE he calls us to. When John 3:16 says, "God so LOVED the world..." Yup, that's AGAPE again... When the Bible talks about LOVING God with all of our heart, mind and strength... guess what.... once again--AGAPE. So, it seems to me that understanding what AGAPE is, and how it works--would be HUGELY IMPORTANT to those of us who desire to LOVE God and others in Jesus' name.
Paul defines AGAPE this way:
AGAPE is patient, AGAPE is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 AGAPE does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 AGAPE never fails. (1 Cor. 13:4-8)
There is so much in that passage... there's no way to tackle all of it in this little blog post. So, for the next several posts, I will take one of the phrases above--beginning with "AGAPE is patient" next time... and we'll break this down.
My hunch is that as we do this---we'll be both blessed and surprised by what we discover! I know over years what I have discovered again and again is that AGAPE love is deeper, tougher, holier and more sacrificial that my flesh EVER feels comfortable with. In essence--living a life of AGAPE is a "super natural" pursuit (You don't do it without the Holy Spirit).
As an OVERVIEW this week we can say that AGAPE has little to nothing to do with feelings and almost everything to do with our WILL and COMMITMENT to God.
Two snap-shots from Jesus' life illustrate AGAPE in action:
1) In the Garden: "Not my will, but yours be done..." (Lk. 22:42) This is the essence of loving God--surrender of our will to His. The greatest prayer we can pray if we want to grow in our AGAPE for God, is "God, empty me of me, and fill me with you!"
2) On the Cross: When you pause and reflect on WHO Jesus was... and then look at what He was willing to endure FOR YOU.... THAT - is AGAPE. It had NOTHING to do with feelings---and EVERYTHING to do with honoring and fulfilling the Father's will... pretty amazing!
Okay---so we'll explore this topic in depth over the coming days. I'll catch you again on Monday. In the mean time--if you want to get a head start--google search the question, "What does the bible teach about patience?" You might be challenged by what you find!
Below you will see a link to an AWESOME book on this subject by Joyce Meyer! I encourage you to check it out!
Thanks for reading. Remember to share!