In the last post I gave three concrete reasons as to why we should love one another. While it is all well and good to know that we should love one another, the real question is how do we do it? What does it look like to love one another on a practical level? Let’s see if we can find the answer.
A Little Review
To begin with, I think it would be helpful for us to have a little review on what agape love is all about. You may recall that the Greeks had four different words for love in their vocabulary. Each of these words describe a different type of love. Agape, which is considered by many to be the highest kind of love, is the one we wish to examine.
God is Agape
The apostle John tells us twice that God is love.
8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1st John 4:8, 16 (emphasis added)
In both of these verses, the Greek word used for love is agape. This tells us that agape describes God’s fundamental nature. It is at the very core of His divine Being. That also means we have to look at God in order to truly understand agape love. It has its purest definition and manifestation in God Himself. We further discover that God Himself is the Source of agape. All agape love proceeds from Him as its Fountainhead. Now let’s find out what we see when we look at God as agape love.
Agape is Intentional
One thing that is discovered very quickly when looking at God as our prime example of agape love is that there is nothing passive about it. Agape love is very intentional.
This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 1st John 4:10 NLT
According what we see in John’s description of God’s love for us, agape love is not motivated by external factors. There was nothing in us to motivate God to love us, and yet He did. Why? He loved us because it is His fundamental nature to do so. This is why His love for us is unconditional, unlimited, complete, and absolute. Because God is motivated strictly by His own agape nature, He moves very deliberately towards the object of His love. This leads us to the second thing we discover about love from God.
Agape is Selfless
The focus of agape love is to extend itself for the ultimate benefit of its object. It will act benevolently toward the one it loves without expecting to receive any rewards for its actions. There is no thought of personal gain. The focus is solely on its object. In fact, the desire to benefit the one it loves is so great that agape love will even extend itself to the point of self-sacrifice. That is what was behind Jesus’ words when He said,
“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 NLT
Intentional, selfless sacrifice is the ultimate example of agape love.
As you look at agape love as seen in God, and realize this is the love God has called us all to walk in, you may be thinking, “Oh, man, I’m sunk!” We all feel this way when we look at agape love. There is hope, however. Remember, God Himself is the true Source of agape love. He will reproduce this love in the life of anyone under His dominion. The true key to walking in love, then, is living in the Reign.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.