The Meaning of Agape!

Matthew 5.pngYou have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I tell you. love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get” Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.                                              Matthew 5:43-48

 The Greek word agape is often translated “love” in the New Testament. How is “agape love” different from other types of love? The essence of agape love is goodwill, benevolence, and willful delight in the object of love. Unlike our English word loveagape is not used in the New Testament to refer to romantic or sexual love. Nor does it refer to close friendship or brotherly love, for which the Greek word philia is used. Agape love involves faithfulness, commitment, and an act of the will. It is distinguished from the other types of love by its lofty moral nature and strong character. Agape love is beautifully described in 1 Corinthians 13.

Jesus never said to love our enemies with the same love we have for our loved ones. It would be totally impossible and it wouldn’t be right. The essence of the word is different. This is quite another kind of love. For example, our love for our loved ones is different, we can’t help loving them. Then there is love that we describe as falling in love. We don’t have to go and look for this love. It comes to us and it is born from the emotions in the heart. But in the case of our enemies, love is not only something from the heart, it also includes something of the will. It is not something that comes spontaneously, we must will ourselves to do it. It is a victory and triumph over what comes to us instinctively.

Agape doesn’t mean the feeling of the heart, that which we cannot help and which is born without us asking for it. It is through determination of the mind that we want to demonstrate unconquerable good to those who wish to harm us. Agape is the ability to love those we don’t like and who don’t like us. We can only have agape if Christ enables us to overcome our natural tendency towards anger and bitterness.

So it is clear and explicit that the last thing agape or Christian love means is to allow others to do exactly as they please. This means that Christian discipline and punishment should not be aimed at vengeance, but at healing.

Love of God is the root, love our neighbor the fruit of the Tree of Life. Neither can exist without the other, but the one is cause and the other effect. (William Temple)

 

Prayer: Holy Spirit of God, help me to have the ability to love my enemies with Christian love.            Amen

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Strength in Christ

phillipians 4.pngThe Apostle Paul wrote the book of Philippians to the church at Philippi. His personal letter stresses the joy that can be found in any situation in our lives even today. Paul delivers his own testimony on the meaning of his life, encourages his readers and instructs them on living in harmony with others and in obedience to God.

In Philippians 4:13 Paul states that I (we) can do all things thru Christ who gives me (us)strength. Some of you just might be thinking, Paul is not living in times like this or going thru what I am going thru right at this moment. Let me share with you, being a Christian in Biblical times was never easy. Paul whose  real name was Saul and he did at one time in his own life persecute all Christian. If you go to the book of Acts in the New Testament chapter 9 you will read this story of Saul. As he near his journey on the road to Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him (Saul). He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? “Who are you Lord? Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting, he replied. Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do. And so Saul did what Jesus instructed him to do, he later became Paul, a great follow of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus never promise to any of us that once we accepted Him as our own personal Lord and Jesus that we would never go through trials, in order for us to appreciate being on the mountain tops when also must endure the valleys in our lives. Look to the book of Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. I personal don’t know your own struggles that you are dealing with but God does, he hears your silent cries you cry on your pillow at night, as you tried to make sense of it all. I personally deal with a child who is chronic ill with having lupus as well as a few other autoimmune diseases and it is never easy. It took us more then ten years of going from doctor to doctor to try to find out what was making my child so sick. From over the last couple of years from almost dying from the disease, and what ever I have to go thru as a caregiver I draw my strength from God. How so you may ask, from always being in God’s word on a daily basis, sometimes more than once a day. From every doctor visit, hospital visit, or test that she must endure and even chemo, I always carry my bible with me, and before we enter to that facility of whatever needs to get done on her, we both stop in my car and ask God for his strength to open the eyes of the doctors to see what he already knows what is going on in her body, and more important to give us his peace. As you read in John 14:27 Jesus said to his follows: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you, I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.  My own strength that I do have from being a caregiver only and I mean only comes from God. All of her doctors are two hours away, (one way) and their have been many, many times, driving to a hospital in the middle of the night with her because that is what she needed, for having maybe a hour of sleep caring for the rest of my family or any other responsibility that I may have, I know that my strength comes from the Living God, the Great I Am. So the next time you feel that you can take another step in your life open up your Bible to get a boost of energy.

Prayer: Dear Lord

I do not know the challengers that your children must go thru but I know you do, O Lord. I ask you to give them the Peace that can only come from you as well as the strength to handle anything. Help to remind them that you are The Great Healer, The Great Physician and the Great I Am, and victory will be your now and forever.

Amen

 

Grace and Peace to You my Friends