Updated: Dec 8, 2020
Part 1: THE FOUNDATION OF LOVE
And so we begin a new series on “pursuing the love of God”. It may be a simple topic but there is so much in the Word of God on the topic of love to consider. Let us go on a journey not only to explore more of the Word of God but also to see how important the love of God is as well as how important love is to God. If you can set a firm foundation in the love of God it is not only going to profit you in this life but in your life here after in heaven as well.
Ephesians 3:17-18 tells us, “…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height; to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
“Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” (1 Corinthians 14:1)
Love is the pre-dominant characteristic and fruit that is to be preeminent above all others in your life. It is something that God wants us to possess and pursue in every relationship.
The love of God is something we have to be taught. Although we are spirit, we are born with carnal natures. We had to be taught most things in our natural lives. And so it is with the things of the spirit. Functioning in the gifts of the spirit doesn’t just happen, it takes being trained up in the area of the gift before you can effectively operate in the gift. In this blog and the next we are going to teach you how to recognize and relate to the love of God that He wants us to pursue and usher us in to.
The Greek word for pursue is "DIOKO", meaning ‘to press on’, which is the same words Paul uses in Philippians 3:12 where he said, "I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me". This strong phrase denotes to pursue without hostility and to seek eagerly after.
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:1-2)
Paul is emphasizing that love is the firm foundation for our whole ‘New Testament Christian’ life. Without love we are nothing! Love is ranked above prophecy; above understanding mysteries; above knowledge; above power and above faith. All these things need to be based on and established in God’s love. If I know and understand God’s love for me and I know in my heart that I am dedicated to God and love God then I can be assured that my faith is firmly established and will not fail. If you have resilient love then you have sturdy faith. The source of faith is love!
The Agape or Christian Love
Agape is the Greek term referring to unconditional love, the highest form of love. It is the love God has for His Son Jesus and for man. This is the most important type of love. There are other expressions of love but the love that flows from a born again believer should flow from agape love.
The agape love of God is the most compassionate unconditional love in existence. Born again believers that are rooted in this love of God will love people regardless of their social status; their strengths or weaknesses; their good traits or bad. They look at people through the eyes of Jesus and always ask, “What is the best good I can do for this person?” and God does that too.
Agape love is firstly universal. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”(John 3:16)
He loves each and every one. He doesn’t love just one race. He doesn’t just love a particular tribe or clan. He doesn’t just love males or just females. He doesn’t just love the Israelites. The Bible says God loved the world (all inclusive). God loves everybody. It is a universal love. As a born again believer, if you are still biased or prejudiced against another gender, race, tribe or any person for whatever reason, then your heart has not yet been touched by agape love.
Secondly, love is eternal and it never changes.
"He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." (John 14:21)
‘Love can only be known from the action it prompts. God's love is seen in the gift of His Son. This is not the love of complacency or affection, that is, it was not drawn out by any excellency in its objects’, Quote from Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
The primary purpose of Christian love or agape love is God and it is expressed as the priority of all in implicit obedience to His commandments.
"If you love Me, keep My commandments... "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him." (John 14:15,21)
Christian love, whether exercised toward your mate, your children, and the brethren or toward men in general, is not an impulse from feelings. It does not always run with the natural inclinations, nor does it devote it only upon those for whom some affinity is shown. Christian love seeks the welfare of all and works no ill to any. It pursues the opportunity to do good to all men, and especially toward them that are of the household of faith. (See Romans 15:2, 13:8-10, Galatians 6:10, 1 Corinthians 13 and Colossians 3:12-14.)
Christian love or agape love expresses the deep and constant love of our perfect God towards entirely unworthy objects. It produces and fosters a reverential love in them toward the Giver, and a practical love towards those who are partakers of the same, and a desire to help others to seek the Giver as well. It is an unselfish love, ready to serve. This is the kind of love God wants us to pursue with all of our hearts, minds, souls and bodies.
Other kinds of love
· Philadelphia or Brotherly Love
This is a love for the brethren, a fraternal kind of love that simply shows kindness towards one another.
“But concerning brotherly love (philadelphia) you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love (agape) one another...” (1 Thessalonians 4:9)
· Phileo or Affectionate Love
Phileo love is an affection that is expressed between friends. It expresses sentiment or feeling. This is the kind of love Jesus had for his beloved disciple, John. It is the kind of love that is expressed between a husband and wife.
“Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him." (John 20:2)
This is also the kind of love Peter indicated Jesus when Jesus asked him whether he loved him or not.
“So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Feed My lambs." (John 21:15)
It is God's desire that we all learn how to be affectionate towards one another in a real, authentic way.
“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another...” (Romans 12:10)
· Eros or Physical Love
This love refers to the physical love and affection as between a man and a woman. Please understand that eros is not necessarily something evil or perverse, it is however something that the devil has perverted and uses for evil. It has been perverted so much that when people think of eros they think of evil. God originally commanded eros in the beginning in Genesis 1 where God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. Eros between spouses is very much biblical, perversion comes in with sins of the flesh that lead to fornication etc.
The Preeminence of Love
God's ultimate desire for our lives above all else is that we would truly learn how to love Him and one another before and more than anything else that we do on earth. This is more important that fulfilling our calling and purposes in Him. Without love we are nothing. Love is the glue that holds everything together.
“But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” (Colossians 3:14)
Love is greater than our faith or hope, because our faith works by love.
“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.” (Galatians 5:6)
If we are lacking in faith and our desire for other things that are important to Kingdom life, it could it very well be that our love is what is really lacking? Think about it!!
To love God with all our heart, soul and mind is the first and greatest commandment. The second is to love our neighbor as ourselves.
“Jesus said to him, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind”. This is the first and great commandment. "And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:37-40)
Pray with me:
Thank You Jesus that we now have a better understanding of Your love. Lord I ask that You now touch us with Your agape love. Father let us pursue our relationship with You and with others in the love that You ignite us with. Without love we are nothing Lord, we need to love like You, the world needs Your love, help us to the love the world as You do. May the love of God flow through us now, in Jesus name.