Liking people is easy.
I can say that I like Mike because he buys me Ice Cream every Thursday when we hang out. It could be that I liked Mike or I simply like the Ice Cream and hanging out makes me feel good.
What if Mike moved away to another state, would I still prioritize him? Would I make out time to spend with him one Thursday in a month?
Love takes effort.
I can say that Susie is fun to hang out with. We gist, we play, we catch up on things that have been happening in each other’s life and that is a time out for me. What if Susie had an accident?
Would I be unselfish enough to spend two Saturdays a month with her like I normally do or would I become too busy?
Love takes time.
Loving people is an investment.
It is not a ‘feel good’ feeling. It is decisions.
Love is constant in the good and in the bad times.
We are called to love all men, even our enemies. True love is unconditional and everyone loves true love.
The Greek word for the love that God gives is ‘agape’.
It is unconditional love.
Romans 5:5 says that the love of Christ has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.
This is love for no reason at all. This is the kind of love that could be fun at first and then the kind of love that is work.
It is saying sorry first not because you are wrong but because the atmosphere of strife must not win over the atmosphere of peace in the home, or anywhere else.
It is knowing when to argue and when to retreat.
Agape is choosing to love even when you are angry, frustrated and backed up against the wall.
Agape is choosing to do good to others even when they might not have done you good. It is making unselfish choices even when you know that there is something you could do for yourself.
It is putting others first. It is putting the needs of others ahead of your own. It is counter the normal of the earth.
Agape is a language of the kingdom of God. All of us are being perfected in love each day.
Sometimes when it concerns human relationships, you can be hurt and betrayed so bad that you feel that there is no love in you, only distrust or resentment.
This is never true.
When you became born again, Jesus came to live in you. He filled you with His love. So when you feel sometimes that you have nothing left to give, know that there is love inside you. That love is the person of Jesus.
When you feel that your love tank has been overdrawn, find some time to spend with the Lord praising, praying and worshipping until the love of God is flowing in you again.
We were made to love.
We have been divinely gifted with hearts that can love people to Jesus. Our hearts were made to pray and intercede for others, to show them what the love of God can do in the life of a man who surrenders, and the changes that can come to a heart that knows God’s love.
What is agape?
Agape is God seeing us in sinful flesh and then sending His sinless son to die in our place so that we can once again have a relationship with Him.
We never want to forget a love so great that God would give His sinless Son as a ransom for us.
In times when we feel that we are not enough or that we are not worthy, we should fix our mind on the great exchange that was made so that we could gain access to God again.
What a privilege to be ransomed with sinless blood. What an honor to be chosen by God. What a privilege to leave death behind and be connected to the abundant life in Christ.
This is great love,
That we have been ransomed from sin and death and now we have been exposed to the law of the Spirit of life in Christ. What a privilege that we are called the sons of God, what greater love can there be?
1 John 4: 9-10
‘In this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent His only begotten son into the world, that we might live through Him.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins’
God loved us.
We did not first please Him with our goodness or our perfection so that he could attest to the fact that we were good products and would bring a good reward.
He took a chance on us.
He saw us like sheep without a shepherd and with a Father’s heart. He sent His only son to come to the earth and be a ransom for us.
He came to be a ransom for the world.
For 7 billion people.
Propitiation means that Christ became a substitute. He came to the earth, became us, and then surrendered to death on the cross as punishment for the sins of the whole world.
He surrendered to death on the cross to pay for your sins and mine.
What great love it is. That I have committed crimes worthy of death and God sent His son Jesus to the cross to die for my sin, to make the payment, to take the punishment meant for you and me.
This is unconditional love.
God sent Jesus to be an exchange for you so that you do not have to receive any punishment because He already took it.
What do we do when we know how loved we are?
We accept the love.
Then we live through Him.
When we consider His great sacrifice, forgiving someone who has hurt us, misunderstood and mistreated us is not too hard. It still hurts but we know that no one is unforgivable because we remember that we were forgiven too.
On this earth, we live through Christ. We are never alone. He is always with us teaching us how to win on earth. He is leading us, guiding us, protecting us and teaching us what to do at all times.
He is love.
Because He loves us, we receive the capacity to love others in His strength, and with His love.