1 Corinthians 16:14 – Do everything in love.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Last week we started talking about the Fruit of the Spirit. We discussed that the fruit is singular. We don’t pick and choose which of them we live out. We are called to live all of them out. Today we are going to talk about the first part of the Fruit of the Spirit, love. What is interesting to me is that without love it makes the rest very difficult, if not impossible for us to do!
Love is such a powerful word. We use it so lightly without really knowing and understanding what it is. When we read the Bible there are actually three main greek words that are translated for love. The interesting thing is in the original greek they had different meanings. The first is “phileo.” This is an affection or feeling kind of love. It is often described as a love of friendship. Think for a second about the city of Philadelphia, it is often called the city of brotherly love. The second type of love mentioned in the Bible is “eros.” Eros refers to a sexual love. It is used when referred to passion or desire. You can probably see now where we get our word erotic from. The last word for love is the one I want to focus on today, “agapeo” or agape love.
Sadly I didn’t understand this word until I was in my forties. Finally understanding this word has been life changing for me. It is such a powerful word. People often say this is the love God has for us, and they are correct. The wonderful thing is according to 1 John 4:8 God doesn’t just love us but we are told “…God is love (agape).”
The best definition for agape love I learned from Chip Ingram, “choosing to give someone what they need the most, when they deserve it the least, at great personal cost.” That is so powerful and so true of God. He gives us what we need the most, a way to bring us back into relationship with Him because we had been separated by sin. We didn’t deserve it. We couldn’t earn it. If anything it was the last thing we truly deserved. Clearly it came at great personal cost to Him by Him sending His son Jesus to die on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins and mine.
There it is, simple but not easy by any means. 1 Corinthians 16:14 says “Do everything in love (agape).” When we read in the Bible to love our neighbor it is with an agape love. Time and time again we are told to live out an agape love. It only makes sense for us if our goal is to live as Jesus lived while He was here. Time and time again he showed agape love to the people he encountered. He gave people what they needed, even though they didn’t deserve it.
How different would your life look if you started living that way? If you didn’t start to retaliate when someone hurt you but became concerned about what caused them to hurt you and how you could help meet the need they may have in their life. There are so many needs around you and agape love is meeting those needs even if it is hard, even if they don’t deserve it, even if they have hurt you, even if it cost you something.
Below is a link to a sermon I preached over love. Over the next several days I will post some more as it took more than one sermon to understand love more and to be able to put love into action. I hope you will take the time to listen to it and challenge yourself with some of the questions it asks.