Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him… 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. – 1 John 4:7-9, 11
“Love”… How often do you say it? “I love ice cream!” “I love football!” I love boating!” I love reading!” “I love to study!” “I love YOU” “I love…” Well, you get the point. When it comes to the people in our lives that we love, can we really say it too much? Ever since she was a little girl, Brittany has ALWAYS ended even the shortest most insignificant phone conversation with me with, “I love you, bye.” (Now trust me, that has always made this daddy’s heart sing!)
But what is love? There are so many different meanings and levels of “love”. I’m confident that most of my readers have heard of “agape love”. To the Christian it carries particular meaning and comfort. But what is it? First, what is it NOT?
It is not romantic love. Anyone, regardless of faith, or even no particular faith, even atheist, can experience “romantic love”. Furthermore, agape is not brotherly love. The bond of close feeling or chemistry, a devotion to another of like mind. Everybody from members of a civic group to members of a criminal gang can and do experience “brotherly love”. Agape love is different.
Agape is not driven nor defined by emotion. No, agape love is unconditional. It is an act of the will. It is God’s love for you. It’s like John tells us, God loved (agape) us, even while we were rebellious and guilty of the very crucifixion of His Son, and yet He sent Him anyway. Unconditional! Agape! So, we may “love” sports, or reading, or eating, or anything… but verse 11 of 1John 4 tells us, because God ‘agape’ loved us, we then must ‘agape’ love others! UNCONDITIONALLY!
Listen friends, IF we really do that… love unconditionally… the world will see in us “Church Unexpected!”
“LOVE YOU”, IN Christ,