agapé: love, goodwill
Original Word: ἀγάπη, ης, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Phonetic Spelling: (ag-ah’-pay)
Definition: love, goodwill
Usage: love, benevolence, good will, esteem; plur: love-feasts.
*In the KJV word agape is both translated as love and charity. So the topic today is the agape love.
February being the month of “love” has me thinking a lot on the subject. It’s such a mysterious subject in a lot of ways especially in the Christian life. We typically think of love and we think, love is a feeling we get when we deeply care for someone. Or we think love is reflective of what we can do for others or what they do for us. But really love isn’t something we can earn through good works, nor is it something we can buy with our affections, or an ooshy, gooshy feeling. All those things might be part of love but not love its self, you see the difference? Often we’re experiencing only parts of love, living from a feeling and not the fullness (Col 1:19, Eph 3:17). Love isn’t a product of what we do and it’s not gained by performances. Love should be who we are and what we produce comes from it. Most of the time our actions are motivated by a desire to achieve Love. According to 1 Corinthians 13:3 our actions do not necessarily equate love. Rather Love should equate our actions. What I mean to say is, that rather than working to get to love, we need to let love be the place from which our actions are motivated.
Actions don’t = Love
Love = action
Love motivates MOVEMENT
But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
God commends His love toward us, movement. So the the love He has for us motivated Him to act on our behalf and send Jesus to die. Take note of the fact that it wasn’t motivated by Him first having received our love and it wasn’t motivated by our good deeds to deserve such kindness either. It was purely motivated by the true source of love, God Himself. He is Love, He needs no external validation to motivate His actions. Everything He does comes from a true place of just being. The statement God makes of Himself sums it up perfectly, “I AM!” He needs no introduction nor does He require labels to identify, He just IS. Existing outside the constraints of time and space, He is completely self sustaining. And from that love the motivation to move on our behalf, one might call this love in motion, charity.
When two people fall in love it motivates them to move in a forward direction together. Love motivates them to unite their lives, motivates them to walk down the aisle together, motivates them to start a family, etc. Love sets a forward trajectory to life.
Love motivated from the true source never fails (1 Corinth 13:8) It always accomplishes the task (Isaiah 55:11). This is why we so need to the true motivation which only God’s love is capable of.
LOVE in Deed and Truth
1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
Love motivates. Many of us are motivated to get love but we’re not equally motivated to give love. And true love is an action; an action of giving not just receiving or vise versa. There are so many scriptures about love and they are all about the harmony between receiving and giving (freely you have received, freely give. Matthew 10:8). Doers of the word and not hearers only (harmony, receiving and giving). Living a life fully en-grafted in the word of God by faith which works by LOVE (James 1:21-25).
So we must ask ourselves some key questions:
1.What motivates me to give? Do I give only TO receive love (earn/works) or BECAUSE I’ve ALREADY received love (fullness/freedom)? (1 John 4:19)
If we can’t appropriately receive love we won’t appropriately give it.
2. Can I equally receive?
When we can begin to fully understand what we’ve been given we will no longer hold onto something that was meant to be released. (Col 1:12-23)
Am I giving and loving out of sacrificial obligation? Doing it because “it’s the right thing to do?” There is a love and devotion that is obligatory and I believe this is part of love, the faithfulness that comes with obligation and follow through. True faith works by love (Gal 5:6). But neither obligation or feelings will be lasting motivational factors if the original motivation was to get to love and not coming from a place of already having received love.
The HEART of Obedience
The Bible says obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Sam 15:22). But sacrifice is easier. Oh so many times my children want to offer the sacrifice of apology because it’s easier to say sorry than to make it right. So while I appreciate the apology the true test of their sincerity lies in whether or not they are willing to obey after they’ve said sorry. Many times we apologize without intentions of following through with the process of making it right. The Bible tells us that when we repent (to apologize) it doesn’t stop there, we then need to turn away from the sin (acts 3:19). For example my kids will apologize because they were caught but not because they’re truly repentant. In these cases they will quickly return to the behavior I just got done correcting without a second thought. Words and actions can be weightless and ineffectual if not motivated by the right thing (1 Corinthians 13:1). So it’s not just words alone (1 Corinthians 13:1:2) or actions alone (1 Corinthians 13:3). It is an alignment of the two which can only truly come from the source….God! (1 John 4:8) (1 John 3)
Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands.” ( John 14:15-24) Which is to say love is so much more that saying I love you and showing I love you through works but it is from deep surrender in the heart. Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” To which Peter could only reply, ” you know all things, you know I love you” Jesus goes on to command Peter, “feed my sheep.” (John 21:17) So how was it that Peter failed Jesus and denied him in his most desperate hour, yet he says loves him? How was it that the one who completely let Jesus down is the one Jesus is trusting to feed His sheep? You see God looks on the heart and it is by grace we are saved through faith! Gods gift of love to us with the directive to share that love. God always goes first setting an example by which we should live.
It is God who works in us to both will and to do of His good pleasure. A part from Him we can do nothing. So to fully love, to obey from the heart is to dwell in LOVE!
Phil 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Rom 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
The LAW of LOVE
Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. (Luke 10:27)
So first we direct our love to God, with all that we are, our whole hearts. Second it says, Love your neighbor AS YOURSELF. What does this tell us? If we don’t love God properly and if we don’t love ourselves properly we won’t be able to love others properly.
Now don’t get all weird on me cause I said you need to love yourself. I know that doesn’t sound “Christian.” We’re not talking about pride here, to be prideFULL is to be powerLESS. I’m not saying to be selfish and think you’re more important than others, just the opposite. What I’m saying, is to value yourself as a precious part of creation which Jesus saw fit to die for. To recognize your own humanity and the value that comes with that. You do have value and you were bought at a very high price. To devalue yourself is to devalue the price HE paid. If you can’t fully appreciate yourself as being one created in the image of God, purchased and redeemed then how could you fully appreciate the value of the lives God placed around you? To know that God saw fit to forgive you while in your sin, which should cause you to see the same precious value in all life.
People ARE important
Colossians 3:8-17 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;10And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. 12Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.15And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
1Corinthians 16:14 Let all your things be done with charity
The SOUND of LOVE
It is true that actions speak louder than words but what is louder than that is when our actions and words are in tune, working in perfect harmony. Love produces soundness. ( power, love and a sound mind. 2 Tim 1:7). By definition sound can be an audible noise produced. The sound of love is in tune, we know this because without it we are just making clanking noise (1 Corinth 13:1). So our lives motivated by love are in perfect tune and harmony. A life out of tune cannot produce the manifestation of the true agape love of God.
Sound can also mean, in good condition, not damaged. Like a car engine that works well would be qualified as sound. The engine being the driving force of the vehicle can become out of tune, in which case it would need to have a tune up. Often the same is true for the driving force behind our motivations becoming out of tune, requiring a spiritual tune up to return us to the state of full power production and soundness of a life motivated by LOVE!
Jesus is busy bringing everything into divine order, making the necessary adjustments to our lives to bring us into the TRUE source of love.
1 Corinth 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued to him, then shall the Son also himself be subject to him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
1. bring (an object, wheel, or other construction) into the exact shape, alignment, or position required.
2. honest. Of fact or reality
3. exactly in tune
4. loyal faithful
Phil 3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Press toward the mark!➡🎯💪👑
1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am becomeassounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.2And though I havethe gift ofprophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.3And though I bestow all my goods to feedthe poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 4Charity suffereth long,andis kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,5Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;6Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;7Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things 8Charity never faileth: