When Jesus was asked to name which of all the commandments was most important, He said that it is ďto love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.Ē He then added that the second important commandment is. ďLove your neighbor as yourself.Ē It seems to be clear that to Jesus, love is very important. It is a commandment. We must love God and love others. That should be easy, right?
I love God, at least when things are going well. When the sun is shining and I am feeling good, I can get up every morning and praise Him for a beautiful new day. I can thank Him for so many blessings.
What happens when the doctorís diagnosis is frightening? What happens when the plant closes, leaving me without a job? Where is the praise in those times? I get on my knees and cry for help but praise for my Heavenly Father doesnít come so easily to my lips in times of distress.
It is easy to say that I love people. That is, until I am in close contact with people. Thatís when they can be aggravating. Do I love the person who just cut in line or who embarrassed me with an unkind comment? Do I love the sister-in-law who never has a kind word to say and must always have her own way in any decision? People donít always act the way I think they should. They donít always act lovingly toward me. It is easier to avoid those people. Is avoidance love or should I do something that demonstrates love?
Do I love God for what He does for me? Do I love others for what they do for me? I think the love Jesus was speaking of is more than that love that we have for what we can get out of it.
Letís look at the love that Jesus demonstrated on the cross. He was innocent but He died for us. We certainly couldnít do anything to benefit Him. We are sinful and weak. He is perfect and powerful, yet He died on the cross so that whoever believes in Him can have eternal abundant life. 1 John 4:10
Agape is a Greek word that is translated as love. This kind of love is not the romantic love or even the love we have for close friends. Agape is selfless, self-sacrificing love.
God doesnít love us because of anything we can do. Jesus didnít go to the cross because we were such good people or because we could be of benefit to Him. God loves us, Jesus died for us because of love without strings attached. Action taken, simply because of love.
This is the kind of love that we, as Christians, strive for. As we follow Christ, we are to love sacrificially, giving of ourselves - loving someone who is unlovable. It is not an easy task, but we do have help.
Agape love is not something that we can produce on our own. God, as the source of love, not only showers it on us but He gives it to us. It is a gift of His Holy Spirit. We begin to realize this kind of love as we follow after Christ and allow His Spirit to live within us and to speak to us. (1 Thessalonians 3:12, 2 Timothy 1:7, Romans 5:5)
What kind of action will you take to demonstrate agape love?
A Walk With the Women of the Bible
EBook by Lynne Chapman
Join me in getting to know some amazing
women of the Bible
while we extract valuable insights and
lessons from their lives.
Now available for Kindle under new title
A Walk With EVE
Also availble in paperback from Cafe Press.
Names of God Ebook
Almighty God. The Creator of heaven and earth.
Our God is given names in Scripture that
describe the characteristics of His personality.
Experience God through the names given Him in Scripture.