Photo Credit: WordSwag, used with permission.
Midweek Devotion: The love of God (agape) is greater, higher, better, and far exceeds human love.
God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever shall believe in Him (join in covenant with Him) would not perish but have everlasting life…adaptation of John 3:16. The Son so loved the Father and the world that He gave His life. He left Paradise and a place of no sin, sickness, or despair to become our sin. The innocent Lamb of God took on our punishment. What manner of love is this? It is agape; unconditional, radical, unselfish, generous, lavish, sacrificial, poured out love.
Jesus told His disciples, “As I have (agape) loved you, (agape) love one another. They will know you are My disciples by your (agape) love,” (John 13:34-35).
Agape is not about niceness (people pleasing). Agape is not eros (romantic/sexual love). It is not philia (friend love). It is above storage (family love). It is the highest form of love and it is costly. It comes from God to us, then it is to flow through us. We freely receive, then we freely give to God and others. Agape love is void of selfishness, self centeredness, and this love is transformative when fully received.
Agape love is not codependent nor does it enable. It will speak truth in love and cease helping when the help is hurting instead of helping. It is holy, pure, true, and always good. It is the highest form of love. God is agape love and whosoever abides in Him will begin to produce this kind of love.
When humans say I love you, I am not always certain what it means. It can mean:
- I like you.
- I value you.
- I like what you do.
- I love what you do.
- I enjoy spending time with you.
- Being with you makes me feel better.
- I am attracted to you (from males).
- I desire you (from males).
- I need you (people need God, not me).
- I benefit from connection with you.
None of those things are agape. When I say I love you it means the following…
- I am proactively looking for ways to bless, encourage, or give to you.
- I will tell you the truth, even if it cost me greatly or you hate me for being honest.
- I will sacrifice for you (within the boundaries of what is healthy, safe, and led by the Holy Spirit).
- I pray and intercede for you.
- If you can not eat, I will feed you.
- If you are naked, I will clothe you.
- I will forgive you, extend mercy.
- I will do my best to guard your reputation.
- I keep your secrets and confidences.
- I will look for the gold/treasure in you and call it out.
- Your name in safe in my mouth.
- I will set boundaries that protect others, not promote selfishness.
- I will look out for you.
- I will seek to protect your heart and what you hold dear.
- I will pursue kindness.
- I will care about you, and what matters to you.
- If you hurt (and I know), I will seek to comfort you.
- I will celebrate you, not compete with you.
- I will admit when I am wrong, and seek repentance.
- I will honor and respect you.
Love to me looks like my Father, my Best Friend Jesus, and the sweet, glorious Holy Spirit. He is far above what I have listed. Yet the more I receive of His love, the more I love others the way He loves me. God love is higher. It is way higher! God love is better, far better! It comes from abiding in Him and His love. It is not manufactured in the flesh, for this love extends even towards His enemies. Do we love our enemies the way God loves us?
When we say I love you, may we reflect back to the words of Jesus, the life of Jesus. May we reflect on 1 Corinthians 13:1-8. I leave you with those words.
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love (agape) never fails.”
We are so deeply loved. God bless you today and always.
Love in Christ,
Erin L Lamb