I love you. We say it when someone does something that pleases us. You are Loved. The words flow from our lips with the intention of making someone else feel important. I LOVE that! We exclaim when something strikes our fancy or we get excited about ‘it’, and our fingers rapidly type on facebook for all to see. The word “love” is thrown around so easily these days. We use it to describe how we feel about others, when we really like a particular thing or place, or when we are nostalgic of a particular memory…when we like a specific decor fad, or the latest song (guilty here!) or our favorite meal. So when a Christian comes along and says, “You are loved.” It no longer holds the weight it’s meant to hold- the depth of meaning is lost because of how loosely we use that word. Let’s change that.
“but God, being rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us” Ephesians 2:4
God is challenging me to really think about ‘love’ these days, and I am finding that I am not so quick to assign this descriptive word to as much as I used to. We live in a society that is inwardly desperate for real love but treats it ever so lightly. We accept so many counterfeit forms of love that we are straining with all our might to recognize the real deal and more often than not, we miss it completely. We treat love as a surface emotion and wonder why we are not fulfilled. The message of love is diluted and we are desensitized to what it really is through media, music, outright lies and more. I think all of this contributes to our struggle to receive the love of God in our lives.
But the truth still remains: You ARE Loved.
You are loved with a kind of love that is so deep and so wide and so immense that we could talk about it forever and wouldn’t be able to do it justice. I try, I try so fully to grasp the love of God and I am overwhelmed. God doesn’t just feel love toward us, He doesn’t just demonstrate Love toward us, He IS Love, Agape, to and for us. I don’t know how to explain that in earthly terms, do you? But, I’m going to try:
Agapē (Strong’s G26) love is, in the bible’s definition, the most ultimate love. It means: affection, benevolence, a love feast and a feast of charity. I want to try to give you an example that you can relate to in order to describe this love but I keep coming up short with only one exception:
There is only one earthly demonstration of agape love that has been well-recorded in our bible as well as many ancient texts.
The Father God gave up His Only Son to the earth for 33 years, to die on a cross as a sacrificial lamb for a sinful world all because He LOVED us and so wanted a relationship with us where sin would no longer be a seperation between us. (John 3:16) Jesus, for the joy (yes, JOY) set before him, willingly laid down His life for ours. (Hebrews 12:2) It’s the only real example of agape that I can offer and it is most certainly more than enough.
Jack Wellman over at www.patheos.com offered a wonderful description of agape:
“Agape is the kind of love that is not of human origin. For example this love can be said to be found in Romans 5:10 “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” To die for an enemy is not what humans do. That is a God-type of love. Jesus died for us while we were still His enemies and while we were sinners. He loved us first. He took the initiative. We didn’t. Agape love is the kind of love that God had for us, while we were still dead in our sins. Agape love is a God love. This love is a love that Jesus displayed in laying down His life voluntarily for us; the type of love that the Father and Jesus have for One another; a love that is poured out for us like Jesus’ blood was poured out for sinners. If you have not repented and trusted in Christ, then you will have to pay for your own sins and since you cannot ever pay enough, you will be separated from God for all eternity. Why not reconcile to God today and bend the knee, repent of your sins, confess them to God, and then trust in Jesus Christ who loved (agapeo) enough to die for you.” (To read the whole article on different types of biblical love click here)
This “God-Love” is offered to us every single day. We are benevolently given this love to experience and bask in… my brain doesn’t know what to do with a love like this, but my heart and soul are so refreshed and made whole by it! When I consider the love that my Father has for me, I am so keenly aware of how my love cannot possibly compare. I find myself at His feet asking Him to make me even a little bit like Him so that His Love can shine through me somehow, because my love will always be inadequate.
Because of its perfection, His Love isn’t something we can do –it’s only something we can receive.
Will you receive Agape today?
Father, this love You offer is overwhelming. It’s like nothing I’ve ever known on this earth! Help me to receive Your Love today. Help me to know that I am truly loved. Because if I can accept this truth, I can walk in light of it. Let the comfort of Agape fill me today with fresh revelation of Who You are, In Jesus Name, Amen.
Put on therefore, as God’s elect, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, longsuffering Colossians 3:12
Words to pay attention to: beloved
I’ll see you next week with another Rfelections Truth!