The Agape Love Of God
by M. J. Andre 7/27/2012 / Christian Living
Mathew 22:37-40 "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
Someone who has been a Christian for over fifty years said to a new Christian: God wants us to love Him, we do not know why but if we say we are Christian we have to obey. The pain this statement brought to my heart was unbearable. While there are many things wrong with it, but I could not help asking myself, how can someone claim to be Christian for more than fifty years yet utter those words out loud and with so much contentment? Incidentally this person believes anyone who says the sinner's prayer even through manipulation is saved.
At first when we look at the first commandment it seems that God is asking us too much. When you are not born again, this commandment sound to you like God is a little bit full of Himself. Sadly what this Christian said about the first commandment is not a fluke. It is the position of a lot of people in the Church. A lot of us do not dispute God, but we try in our own way to come to terms with His demands by agreeing with Him. What people do not understand this kind of attitude toward the first commandment is a sign of not being a born again Christian. Agreeing with God in this manner comes from our own understanding in the flesh.
When we are born again, God gives us spiritual understanding. While we might not have the full scope of this commandment, until we grow to maturity, but we understand how vital it is in our heart and for our walk with Him. This commandment to love God is not for His benefits but for ours. Like the Word of God in the Bible which grows as you grow in Him, the first commandment grows as you grow in Him. We are by nature selfish people not capable of thinking of anyone else but us. We look out for number one. But, as we grow in Him, we learn to love Him and we are able to take the focus off ourselves. Furthermore, God has no intention of letting us do this thing by ourselves. No, He shed His Agape love in our hearts so that we can understand and apply sacrificial love which is the only love acceptable to Him.
As we grow in Him and live life filled with the Spirit, we find that His Agape love that floods our heart is so powerful because it does not come with all these emotions that fluctuate, like the Phileo love in the natural heart. Agape love is literally out of this world. It is almost inexplicable. Agape love is God Himself. Like His Holiness which is the very essence God is made of. So too is Agape love is His very essence. When you have the opportunity to experience this love in your heart, it feels more like an overflowing peace in your heart mixed with a little bit of joy, but this little joy is toward God. The presence of Agape love in your heart, acts like all other human feelings disappear, they are not suppressed, but they are not there. As such you cannot judge the person who is hurting you, or feel animosity. It also comes with some sort of compulsion to help or give of yourself with compassion. This thing that accompanies Agape love which I called joy toward God, for lack of a better word, seems to be there for the sole purpose of glorifying God whenever Agape love is used. It is a powerful love that allows you to look into your enemy's eyes, I mean people who deserve your full hatred, yet, you are not able to feel like a human being toward them.
The Agape love of God in our hearts is also another proof that we are children of God. It is with this Agape love we comply with His will and learn to obey His commands as found in John 14:15-23. We learn to respond to Him because His Agape love enables us to do so. In sharing His divine nature we are endowed with this Agape love, so we learn to serve, love and live with His love in our heart as an extension of who we are, IN HIM.
It is only through loving God as the first commandment demands it that we are able to soak so much in His presence to the point where we take His imprint, as He fused Himself in us. Around fifty four months in the wilderness, I recalled crying like a baby when God showed me that He did not want the love that is in my own heart. It took Him that long to impart to me through sanctification, the new heart that was imputed at the moment of salvation. So, even though the first few steps we take in this Christian life will be with our own love, but eventually God needs to change it to His own Agape love because my own love is filthy and unacceptable to Him. I sobbed because I realized, one more time, I had nothing to offer to this God who loves me so much. In the new heart which by the way comes with ears as well, that is where His Agape love resides in us. Without His agape love in our heart, we have nothing and we are nothing.
As we exercise this Agape love more and more, God helps us to balance it out. What I mean by that, we learn to love without sacrificing the truth. We can love the most evil people and exhibits Godly Characteristics toward them, without having any friendship with them or tolerate their sins. Casing point, God loves everyone, even the most wicked people you can find on this earth, He provides for them, but He is not about to compromise who He is in His Holiness and sacrifice the truth. We can love till it hurts with sacrifices almost too much to bear, we perform acts of kindness, serve the needs of believers and unbelievers alike but we do not compromise God's Word. I am finding out Agape love is also a learned skill. Often we are called to apply it in situations that are not black and white. So, we use it in conjunction with our identity in Him and according to His leading.
I pray that you would be blessed and be a blessing to others!
M.J. Andre has written the newly released Christian book "Apprehended & Apprehending"
The book is now availalbe on Amazon and Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble