God’s Love Is Deeper, Higher, and Better.

  

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 

The Standard is Jesus

20140706-071922-26362536.jpg

Follow God’s example, as dearly loved children & walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us & gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering & sacrifice to God,~Ephesians 5:1-2.

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing,~1 Corinthians 13:1-3.

Our lives will be measured by how we love. It’s not something that’s preached in many pulpits anymore, yet Jesus taught on it all the time. He taught we are to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind and love our neighbor as we love ourselves. He stated if we love God, we would obey Him. He also stated there would be many when they see Him face to face who will say, “Look at all the good things I did in Your name. He will reply-I was hungry and you did not feed me, naked and you did not clothe me, in prison and you did not visit me…whatever you did to the least of these, you’ve done to Me. Depart from Me, I never knew You-(Matthew 25:31-46, Matthew 7: 21-26).” These weren’t people who lived believing they’d miss heaven. They lived forsaking the greatest commandment; love. They lived not applying the Gospel to their lives. God cares how we treat Him and others. It’s all through the Bible.

Misunderstanding love:

Humans often equate love with warm fuzzy feelings or being able to have their way. Neither is biblical love. God corrects, rebukes, and provides consequences and boundaries for us so we can learn. He does not treat us poorly; He leads us to paths of righteousness so we are not destroyed by sin. No matter how we view it; sin destroys it’s host. As a loving parent, He can’t stand by and watch us kill ourselves. Though if we are super rebellious, He will give us over to our sin (Romans 1:28).

If we wait to feel love, we will only love a select few. God didn’t tell us to only love the happy, shiny, nice people. I wish that were true, but it’s not. He said love everyone! He gave His Spirit so we had 24/7 built in love. If I only loved when I felt love, gosh, that’d be 10-20 percent of the time and only a few people in my life. I’m not primarily a feeler; I’m a thinker. My brain dominates my heart. I’m learning to allow the Holy Spirit to direct my brain.

Love does not always equal friendship:

God didn’t tell us to give everyone full access to our lives or to be close friends with everyone. Trust me, you will be destroyed if you give everyone the same access to you. Be friendly, compassionate, a servant to all. Even Jesus only had a few disciples He pulled closest to Him. His love was the same, the level of intimacy was not.

I’ve upset many people in my life by ending relationships that causes chaos, drama, trauma, or simply weren’t helping me grow like Christ. My goal isn’t to please people; it’s to be in God’s will. If it’s destroying your relationship with God, it’s abusive, there’s never peace, etc…ask God what type of relationship it should be. Married people have a greater responsibility. If it’s a random person you befriended, love them…but set boundaries. Even married people are called to point their spouse to Christ by setting boundaries, correcting, and rebuking. Jesus corrected, rebuked, and had boundaries with people. Pray for, bless, do good, yet don’t let people continually destroy what God is trying to build.

The standard is Jesus!

Jesus is the standard. Even if the entire world stands against you; your role is to represent (Re-Present) Jesus. Love your enemies. Do good to those who hurt you. Bless those who curse you. It is the way of a disciple of Jesus. It’s not easy; it’s possible through Christ who gives you strength.

Lastly…

We are not mini saviors. We are called to imitate Jesus by walking in love! We are called to be His ambassadors of love in the earth. The world will know we belong to God by our love.

Be blessed today. You are loved with an everlasting love!

The key to loving well is abiding in the One who is love (John 15:5). We love because He first loves us. We recieve His love and let it pour out onto others.

Love in Christ,

Erin

20140706-071952-26392559.jpg

God Speaks Your Love Language

90295251aa9b3377cdc29b54efc0b3a5

I have loved you with an everlasting love;I have drawn you with unfailing kindness,~Jeremiah 31:3

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things,~1 Corinthians 13:4-7

I’ve said it once, and I will say it again and again, “God is not cold, stern, aloof, distant, or unloving.” I echo the words of Mother Teresa, “God is kinder than you think.” God is love. You can take those verses in 1 Corinthians 13 and exchange love for God. He is love. He loves you.

I challenge you to believe that God speaks your love language. If you are unfamiliar with the popular book, The 5 Love Languages, it is an enlightening book. Basically we all receive love in a different ways. God did not make us all the same, so what works for me, may not work for you. I am not really a gift person. If someone gives me a nice gift, I appreciate it, however the words people speak are important to me as well as their willingness to be there (acts of service). I care far more about how a person treats me than the gifts they have to offer. I am also not reward driven. I do what I do from internal motivation, not for rewards. God knows this about me. Therefore, my interactions with Him are tailored to my love languages. God responds to my individual needs. He does not offer blanket love. He is creative and perfect in the ways He interacts with His children.

I do not have children, but I do have younger siblings. What works for one, does not work for the other. My sister loves quality time, the more time you spend with her the better. My brother could care less about quality time, but delights in gifts. They both respond very differently to discipline. If I try the same thing for both of them, the results are not guaranteed to be good. God knows you. He knows every hair on your head, every tear you have ever shed. He knows more about you than you know about yourself. Why would He attempt to love you in a way you could not receive? Love seeks what is best for the other person.

We have many people saying they are speaking for God and some times what they have to say is negative. It makes it seem like God hates us until we accept Christ and then He only cares for us because of Jesus. This is untrue. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Before Christ, after Christ…God sees someone He loves. No one gives their life to save something they consider to be junk, nor do they invite someone into relationship to mistreat them, ignore them, or simply put up with them. God loves you! He wants to love you in a way that is tangible and real to you.

My prayer:

Papa, I ask that every person who visits this site will have a life changing encounter with You. We can not fully grasp the great love You have for us. It is personal. It is beautiful. It is wonderful. I ask that we would know the height, the width, the breath, and the vast expanse of Your great love for us. Anything hindering us from receiving Your love, I ask it be removed. Thank You for Your great love. In Jesus name, Amen.