We are currently in a teaching series called “Love Jesus”. The simple hope is that if we spend five weeks reflecting on Christ’s amazing love for us, we will grow into a more faithful and intense love for Jesus.
That first week I spoke from John 21 and the big idea was that we love and pursue God because He loves and pursues us. We spoke of God’s agape love for us. We see several Greek words used for love in scripture and agape love is uniquely the strongest, deepest, most selfless, mature and noble type of love.
We may have a fond affection for chocolate where as we have agape love for our children. Someone in our church asked a great question: Is man capable of agape love or is only God able to love with agape love?
God’s agape love is the purest form of love possible and His highest act of agape for us was the death of Jesus Christ for our sins. Although our sinfulness and selfishness can get in the mix and dilute our love, man is indeed capable of loving with agape love.
We primarily love God with an agape love. Our heart’s cry and desire’s submission to our Creator and Savior is agape love. Our agape for God is not reduced or limited to merely an emotional response but an intentional an act of our desire to worship, adore, obey and pursue God. When we are told by Jesus to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:31), the Greek word there is agape. So God has put in us the ability to love Him with an agape love.
Following the great commandment to agape God, Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31). And the word for love here? You guessed it! Agape.
Why would Jesus tell us to love (agape) other people if we were not actually able to do so? The consistency of man loving with agape love can be questioned, but not the ability of man to love with agape. The well known and appreciated “love” passage of 1 Corinthians 13 is a description of what agape love looks like when it is lived out.
Look no further for evidence that this kind of selfless and intentional love is not driven by emotions, but of willful action to benefit others.
I confess that I find myself loving sporadically and selectively with agape. But I know that if I keep falling more and more in love with Jesus, His agape love will fill me up and begin to spill over into the lives of others around me, whether family, friends, strangers and even those who are adversarial.
This kind of love can only come from God. So let’s move beyond studying and speaking about agape and ask the Lord to help us live out agape.