Monday, September 15, 2014

Agape Love

Love, according to the New Testament, should be a deep, long-lasting commitment to principles, not an erratic, flesh-fed emotion that we are programmed to believe in.  If we put the fleshly feelings aside, we can discover love as God intended.

The Greek word for that kind of love is agape.  Agape depicts the love of God.  It is a very difficult word to translate properly from Greek to English.  Rick Renner describes it very well in “Sparkling Gems.”

"Agape occurs when an individual sees, recognizes, understands, or appreciates the value of an object or a person, causing the viewer to behold this object or person in great esteem, awe, admiration, wonder, and sincere appreciation.  Such great respect is awakened in the heart of the observer for the object or person he is beholding that he is compelled to love it.  In fact, his love for that person or object is so strong that it is irresistible." 


Agape is a love that has no strings attached.  It isn’t looking for what it can get, but for what it can give.  Its awe of the one who is loved is so deep that it is compelled to shower love upon that object or person regardless of the response.  This is the profound love God has for the human race, for He loved man when he was still lost in sin with no ability to love Him back.  God simply loved mankind without any thought or expectation of receiving love in return.

When you love with such a pure love that you expect nothing back in return, it is impossible for you to feel hurt or let down by the response of the recipients of your love.  You don’t love them for the purpose of getting something in return; you shower them with love simply because you love them.

This last paragraph says it all.  We’ve gotten so far away from this kind of love, though, in our “me, me, me” society.  Our relationship with our spouse should be like our relationship with God.  Both have to come ahead of our own “self”.  That is when you arrive to the deepest level of love, the healthiest part of marriage - when your desire is for what is best for your spouse. Any less will result in problems and possibly divorce.  When you convince yourself that what you want is more important than your spouse’s needs, you might as well start packing your bags.  The world will advise you to divorce – and lead you out the door.

The greatest example of agape love can be found in John 3:16.  “For God SO LOVED the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

God loves us SO MUCH that He gave HIS SON to DIE for our sins.  Wow.  That always boggles my mind.  I cannot comprehend sacrificing my child, especially in the manner that Jesus was sacrificed.  Easter is always a very emotional time for me as I try to grasp the depths of the crucifixion.

God thinks so greatly of us, loves us so deeply.  He stands in awe of His creation.  He admires and holds mankind in the highest appreciation.  Yet, when we aggravate Him or sin against Him, He does not divorce us or leave us.  He will always be there for us, no matter what we do.  That is complete unconditional love - agape love.

That is the love we should feel towards our spouse.    Agape love is so deep and profound that it knows no limits.  The highest form of love, it will sacrifice for the one it cherishes.

There are no strings attached to this kind of love.  It expects nothing in return - it only desires to give.  No matter what the response may be, agape continues to love - as God continues to love us no matter what we do or say against Him.

This kind of love can seem impossible, especially when we live in a world that promotes a “what feels good” attitude towards love.  Fleshly love is selfish and self-focused, unable to obtain such a high level of love.

How do we possess agape love?  We already have it.  Because the word of God has been sown into our spirits, we have access to this powerful love.  All we need to do is push that fleshly love aside and release the love of God we carry to share with our spouses and others as God intended love to be.


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