Reflecting on 2015, my first arrival to Guadalajara, Mexico. God taught me a lot during those first eight months.
Some of the big things God taught me I’ve talked about before. One of the big ones was about the Holy Spirit. I am still learning a lot about the Holy Spirit and it’s role within our lives. You can read more about the Holy Spirit HERE. In close relation to the Holy Spirit I have been learning about the importance of raising up workers instead of merely believers. This requires new believers to truly depend on the Holy Spirit to guide them as they minister to their friends and family. You can read more about the raising of new workers HERE.
The third major thing I have been learning this past year, and perhaps the most important, is about AGAPE. This study of the word AGAPE began back in October when I lead our group through a 2 part deconstruction of 2 Peter 1:5-7. You can see the result of our discussion in the two pictures below. Click on them for a larger view.
Word-by-word we discussed what each word meant and how we could better improve ourselves in relation to each word. We also looked at the Greek for each word and the greater meaning behind the word. Eventually we arrived on love, AGAPE love.
I had learned about the “four loves” during my time at Taylor University. Storge: familial love. Philia: brotherly love. Eros: romantic love.
AGAPE is the most important love. It is the highest kind of love. It is unconditional, sacrificial love.
AGAPE is love in it’s truest, perfect form. All other loves need something added to it.
AGAPE is the love that God is (1 John 4:8).
AGAPE is the love that God shows (1 John 4:9).
Here’s the part that really blew me away. I always thought that AGAPE was some distant love that only God was capable of showing, it was impossible for us as sinful humans. But, I began to read other passages in Greek and I realized that AGAPE is used much more frequently than any other form of love. Jesus uses AGAPE countless times in John 15:9-17. He commands us to AGAPE each other. John also talks about how God showed us AGAPE love so we should also show AGAPE love to others; 1 John 4:7-21. Paul talks about the importance of AGAPE, the attributes of AGAPE, and the greatness of AGAPE in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. These are just some of the passages that stuck out to me. Go check each one out and replace the word “love” with AGAPE.
So we are commanded to AGAPE others, and AGAPE is awesome and perfect. But the question I had was, “How is it possible for us, totally imperfect, broken, miserable humans? How can we show perfect AGAPE love?” The answer: we can’t. Only God can show AGAPE love. Sorry folks, that’s it end of story.
Just kidding. Turns out there is one more peace to the puzzle.
AGAPE is the love that God enables in His children. God accomplishes this through the Holy Spirit. Once again, the Holy Spirit enters into the equation. Don’t take my word for it; “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: AGAPE, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Because we have the Holy Spirit within us WE can show AGAPE love. God expresses His love through us because His Spirit lives in us. Read 1 John 4:7-13 again, that’s what John is talking about there. He lives in us and we live in Him, the Spirit is proof of this. We have been bought with a price, we are His children, so we can and should show AGAPE love for others.
With all of this in mind I have been trying my hardest to show AGAPE love to people. Once again, it’s not always the easiest, so that’s why I need to be filled with His Spirit continually. Only He can show AGAPE, I merely act as person He can show AGAPE through. Let’s continue to practice showing AGAPE love to others. Self-sacrificial, unconditional, perfect love.