Agape Love

There is an exercise that has been a wonderful blessing to me throughout my life. I Corinthians 13: 4-7 says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

Now re-read those passages again and every time it says “love” or “it” insert your name.

_____ is patient, _____ is kind. _____ does not envy, _____ does not boast, _____ is not proud. _____ does not dishonor others, ______ is not self-seeking, _____ is not easily angered, _____keeps no record of wrongs. _____ does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. _____ always protects, _____ always trusts, _____ always hopes, _____ always perseveres.

That is agape love. That is perfect, unselfish, unconditional love; the type of love God has for us.

God’s love for us does not depend on what we do; it’s completely dependent on Him. Unconditional love does not depend on anything the other person says or does.  As we love others with that same love, we reflect the agape love we’ve been given.

Imagine, your love for your husband has nothing to do with what he does or says. Your love for your children is not based on what they do or how they act. Your love for your parents holds no record of wrongs, but instead protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres.

Agape love means you support, and encourage your friend, even though it feels like you often give more than you receive. Even if they forget your birthday or if they always vent their frustrations without ever asking about yours; agape love does not depend on what they do, it depends on what you choose to do. Agape love is motivated by a Servant’s heart because of how Jesus loved us.

Agape love means you love your husband with a perfect love whether he takes out the garbage or not, whether he forgets your anniversary or brings you flowers, regardless of the unkind or insensitive things he may say, you choose to love him with no conditions on that love. Your love for him is not dependent on what he does. You love him because you choose to love him. He is the object of your love, you have chosen to love him and be with him. Unconditional means there are no conditions in which you would not love him. This does not mean we do not have expectations and boundaries in our relationships, God certainly has expectations for us and has established clear boundaries, but he loves us regardless.  

That is the love God has for us. There is nothing we can do to make him love us more, and there is nothing we can do to make him love us less. His love is perfect.

And because He has done this for us, we now share that same love with others, “We love each other, because he loved us first.” (I Johns 4:19 NLT)

This is a tall order and I fall short every day. Fortunately there is forgiveness, due to his agape love for me. However, his mercies are new every morning, and each day we begin again.

“We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.” (I John 4:16 NLT)

There is a lot of pressure when we insert our name in the blank of love. A wise friend recently reminded me that it’s not us, we have a God that IS love and fulfills it in every way. Any love from us that is pure and acceptable is the love of God. You have that love, and you can share that love!

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How to Purge Satan

Have you been a part of all the rage starting this new year?

What rage you ask?

You know, the huge whirlwind delivered by the teeny Marie Kondo in her new show Tidying Up.

My husband watched the first show without me, can you believe that? That man loves to purge. He texted me from the living room while I was in bed telling me that this lady is “life-changing.” He was mostly referring to her folding method, but either way, I won’t totally disagree with him. I’ve watched just a few of her shows, but the resulting weekend was exhausting and completely liberating. We cleaned out excess books, cleaned a closet or two, purged some décor items, and organized the kid’s crafting stuff. Why did I have an entire box full of broken crayons? Why was I hanging on to sheets for a full sized bed that we had gotten rid of over a year ago? How many duplicate books did I actually have? Her show really motivated me to make those changes and restore some order to some spaces.

However, there was one difficulty with all of this. A rather big one actually.

Roommates.

Tiny little packrat roommates.

Those of you with children (or really, anyone else besides yourself) living with you surely understand. While getting rid of nearly everything the kids have would spark the wildest kind of joy in my life, it certainly wouldn’t for them. And let’s not even get started on how one would even begin to purge with the little ones sneaking in and labeling everything their “favowrite.” I had to wave goodbye to my sought after completely minimalist home.

So, maybe I’m being a little bit extreme (or maybe I’m not. I still have at least 5 puzzles that nobody has touched in ages.) But this whole ordeal sparked a thought in my mind.


Can you see the parallel to our lives?

Our annoying roommate (our sinful flesh fueled by Satan) clutters up our lives so that we trip and fall into sin again and again.

1 Peter 5:8, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

So what can we do?

What can we do when we find ourselves yelling at our kids, again? What can we do when we find ourselves hurting our spouses or friends? What can we do when we fall into our selfish ambitions? What can we do when we find ourselves sharing just that little bit of gossip we didn’t mean to share? What can we do when the devil wins again?

How can we as Christians try to purge our evil desires and sin out of our lives? How do we make choices that will set us up for success in the future? How can we resist our temptations?

Find our way back to Jesus!

Matthew 11:28-29, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Pray about it!

James 5:13-16, “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

Revel in our forgiveness!

Colossians 1: 13-14, “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Luke 1:76-79, “And you, my child [referring to John the Baptist], will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

Be strong in the Lord!

Ephesians 6:10-18a, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”

It can be easy to overlook our own sin at times. Sometimes I find myself thinking, “Well, it could be worse” or “It’s not so bad” but that is exactly what the devil wants us to think. Of course he wants us to stop fighting against him because that means he stands a chance with us!

It can also be overwhelming— surely we aren’t perfect, and we never will be. But that is what makes our forgiveness so sweet and so amazing. We never will deserve it, but we receive it anyway.

Unfortunately, on this side of heaven we will never be able to evict Satan from being an ever present and unwelcome cluttery roommate. But thanks be to our Heavenly Father for not only sending us his Holy Spirit to help lift us up and give us the strength to resist Satan’s temptations but also for giving us his only Son who provides us with forgiveness when we fail.

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