Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Agape in action

An older friend of mine, "Grandmother Lois," who I haven't seen for a few years, one time shared with me how the chorus of a song by Foreigner played a big part in the process of her coming to know God's love. (We affectionately called her "Grandmother Lois" because of the reference Paul made to Timothy's grandmother Lois in 2 Tim. 1). :)

Lois told me she was driving in her car one time when the song "I Want To Know What Love Is" came on the radio.

The chorus goes, in part, "I want to know what love is. I want you to show me."

I can't recall Lois' story with complete clarity, but I remember she said she was brought to tears and that this song caused her to cry out to God to know His love. I recall that she also cited some of the other lyrics that echoed parts of her life:

In my life there's been heartache and pain
I don't know if I can face it again
Can't stop now, I've traveled so far
To change this lonely life

The answer was, is and always will be love. For the past few days I've been sharing a little bit about agape-love, and I've been trying to dig somewhat deep into what it really is. Agape is HUGE! Agape goes deeper than what we really think. Far, far deeper. And agape is not agape if there is no "action." (If agape is not demonstrated, it's not agape).

My main purpose during the past few days was to show how agape is something we're completely incapable of doing, in and of ourselves, apart from the life of God Himself - who is agape - dwelling in us.

So, how do we humans even begin to think we can "do" agape? I think we must first look to the source Himself, and then keep looking to the source Himself! We must realize that He is agape in and through us and that He has always demonstrated agape perfectly.

"God demonstrates His own agape toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom 5:8)

We looked at the parable of the Good Samaritan. The very "brothers" of the man who was beaten and robbed - the priest and the Levite - did the opposite of agape. But the Samaritan, who at the time was the enemy of the Jews, is the one who showed agape to the hurt man. Is this not what God did for us?

"For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." (Rom 5:10)

While we were enemies of God, God saved us.

Jesus tells us about the greatest demonstration of agape:

"Greater agape has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13)

He talked the agape talk, and need I even mention how He demonstrated it to the full?

What I really want to point out here, and always continue to point out, is that in order to know agape, experience agape, and ultimately live out the agape life, we look to Him. If we don't know His love for us, and if we don't understand His love in action, then how can we even begin to love as He loves?

"In this is agape, not that we agapao-d God, but that He agapao-d us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:10)

(Agapao is the verb (action) form of the noun agape).

I'm telling you, I've only just begun to understand God's agape! When I compare myself to His demonstration of agapao (love in action), my "human" reaction is to fall flat on my face, embarrassed by how far I've fallen short. But then I realize that in His perfect demonstration of agape, He is, as Paul says first about agape in 1 Cor. 13, patient. Love is patient. Agape is patient. God is patient. Agape is not keeping a record of my wrongs. He nailed it all to a cross in His Son Jesus, and me along with it, and gave me a brand new life.

My only "job" now is to look to Him in faith, and learn more and more of His perfect agape, and grow in it... one day at a time... one human failure at a time... and complete victory realized in Him over the course of a lifetime. He Himself gives us the victory! (1 Cor. 15:57). Learning to walk in the already-accomplished victory does take time, and the focus must always be Him, not what our flesh thinks it has accomplished or failed in.


  1. I love this. I now try and tell myself God isn't love, but He is agape. Which makes much more sense and is much more clear on what it means that He is love. He is self-less. Always giving. Agape forms this circle of giving and receiving. And this is what God is..What an amazing mystery.

    I think you hit the nail on the head in the very end. From what I've learned, it's all about keeping my eyes on Him, loving Him and trusting Him. To have any awareness of self will drag you down. It's the classic taking your eyes of Christ and on the storm. The storm being sin, circumstances, etc. I know this from current experience, lol

  2. Indeed, as Paul-Anderson Walsh says, if it's "you" living for yourself, or "you" living for God, it's still "you" doing the living. :) To keep our eyes on the One who has His hand on us, that's what it's all about.