Let’s be very clear about this one. God’s nature is loving and kind, but sometimes we confuse God’s nature with the lie that Love is God.
First, let’s clear up some potential vocabulary problems. In English, we use the word “love” for everything – as a heart emoji on social media, to describe our enjoyment of a tasty pizza, or the delight of receiving wonderful unexpected gift, or to share our feelings for a cherished friend or the depth of our feelings for our children and spouse, all the way to the gratitude we have for the One who created us and gave us everything. But, the original language doesn’t lump all these things together. Greek has several words that mean love and we are going to talk about the love God has for us (agape, pronounced aw-gaw’-pay) and the love He calls us to have for others.
God’s agape-love for us started before we were created. This part of His character compelled Him to create a perfect world for His children with good things for them to experience and good plans for them to complete. This part of His character causes Him to continue to create unique sunrises and sunsets for us to enjoy, to continue creating for us.
When mankind disobeyed His instructions: “You can have everything but this one. Don’t eat this one. When you do, you will die.” God planned a way to deliver us from the spiritual death we earned and to bring us back into a relationship with Him that provides spiritual life. This agape-love knows there are limits and boundaries that must be maintained. This part of God’s character keeps Him loving us even when we reject Him and working within the limits and boundaries to make things right.
The penalty of death never changed and God’s words didn’t change. He didn’t take them back. Instead He willingly sent His Only begotten Son, Jesus, from heaven on a mission to take our place and suffer our death. And because Jesus loves the same way the Father loves, Jesus willingly came to live as one of us and die on the cross at Calvary so that we could have eternal life. (John 3:16)
The most appropriate response to this kind of love is to love others the same way. We understand limits and boundaries exist to keep us safe. We follow the laws God has established so that we are blessed with His presence. And we love others as He loved us.
Dear Heavenly Father, This side of You can get very sticky with us humans. We often have a hard time balancing whether we should follow our head or our heart. We often think of love as a heart thing. But our hearts are deceitful and often, when we listen to them alone, we are highjacked into relationships and situations never meant for us. Help me understand Your agape-love for me. Help me remember, always, that it started with You and any agape-love I have must be first in response to You and then shared with those around me. Grow this fruit of the Spirit in my life. Help me remember that the most loving thing to do in each situation is first to place it in Your capable hands and then listen and let You tell me what to do. Your ways are higher than mine. Your rules are better.
Have you experienced the agape-love Your Creator has for You? Why not think Him for it?