God's Money

It's His. Not Yours.

God's Money is a blog that helps people use their financial resources in a God-honoring way. A blog post is typically released every Monday written by Donald F. White.

Post #4 "What is Agape Love?"

What is Agape Love?

By definition, agape love is love that is the highest, purest form of love possible. 

More often than not, our understanding of agape love directly correlates to how we love others.

If we do not love ourselves or understand how much someone first loved us (i.e. our creator GOD), our capacity to practice agape love is limited.

 If the understanding of God's love was assigned a numerical value, (let's say 100).

The amount of love we give to others has to come from whatever the first number is (100, 70, 50, 35 etc.)

 It seems obvious but worth noting that we could choose to love someone with a numerical value of 0 even if we have a capacity to love someone with a 99.

Simply put, we choose how much we love someone.

So at the end your equation could look like this:

75/100 (Your understanding of God's love/ Full and Pure Agape Love)

 65/75 ( How much you love someone/ Your capacity to love)


The Numbers Explained:

- God's love never changes (100)

- Your Capacity is 75, because that is what you THINK it is
(* God doesn't change, WE do)

- You can choose any number between 0-75  as a numerical representation for how you treat someone. You cannot love more than what you understand (like a 76+ in this example)

In the above example, you have a somewhat distorted view of God because of past circumstances that have place doubt over your life (think abandonment, rejection etc.)

Thus your understanding of God is average but still limited.

So now we have an equation that explains how agape love is represented in our life, but let's learn more about the guy that first showed us agape love.

Jesus.

In your opinion, when did Jesus die for you?

Most say 2,000 years ago and that would be the right answer. Sort of.

Let's Also look at this:

“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

*At the peak of our sin, and look at the past/future tense here.

God died for us.

He died for you at the peak and totality of your sin. Period.

So why do we strive and view God as the taskmaster? 

Just a guy sitting up there keeping score like a sporting match.

A fully loving God wouldn't need you to do anything for him, right?

Then why do we do things to impress God?

Can you do anything that would make God not love you?
 

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.” 2 Corinthians 5:18

When you fall in love you don’t think about it

You just DO. Right?

Sometimes we say: If I really loved God I would do more or love more or xyz more or xyz less, but is this true? Can God love us MORE?

The two scriptures that are used when it comes to faith vs. works are:

Ephesians 2:8-9

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

And

James 2:14-18

“14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”

When you fall down a cliff, or fall down stairs, you aren't trying. It’s natural. Awkward but true right?

You have to PUSH yourself off, but once you get going it’s all natural from there.

It is only a natural reaction for someone in love to want to make the object of their love feel happy, satisfied, loved, valued, and that you pay attention to them and want to serve them.

Thus:

When you love God, it overflows into works.

  1. God loves you whether you sit in a room for the rest of your life as long as that meant you loved him to your full extent or become Mother Teresa

  2. If you HAD to do, Jesus’s death and it’s value is nullified.

  3. Be a Be do, not a do be. (Know who you are and just be, and out of that knowledge Do! The other way around produces task master Christians doing what “a christian SHOULD do)

  4. Works does not equal salvation, it is a natural byproduct of your faith and love for Christ

How to pursue God and his Agape love:

Picture a room you enter and ask if Jesus is in there and before waiting and not hearing anything you leave. Jesus reveals himself later because you were more concerned with an answer than genuine interest in finding him.

“Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. "If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk,” Isaiah 58:9

“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;

   in the morning I lay my requests before you

   and wait expectantly” Psalm 5:3
 

David cries out just like you.

“I am worn out from my groaning.

All night long I flood my bed with weeping

   and drench my couch with tears.” Psalm 6:6

“And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Luke 22:44  (this was Jesus!)

When discerning a situation, person, thought, action think:
What fruit does this align with?
 

Fruit of the Spirit?

love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Enemy Fruit?

 confusion, judgment, shaming, seeking to destroy, bullying, negative thoughts.

Are there any events/situations in your life that are sources of confusion, judgment, shame, anxiety?  As a result, how do you view God in this situation?

What's the truth?

Pursue and he will be found.

We may not be able to fully grasp agape love in it's entirety, but God is a patient, loving and kind father who is willing to show us glimpses of it and show us how to get more of it!

Love often and always.