Agape — Real Love

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We love Him because He first loved us. 
~1John 4:19

God’s love for us generates love in our hearts.  Is your heart filled with bitterness, resentment, or hard feelings?  God loves you, just as you are, in spite of your sinful, selfish attitudes and acts.  God loves you!

Contemplate His love,
Enjoy His love,
Revel in His love,
Drink deeply of His love,
Thank Him for His love.

The wonder of it all may make your sins even more hideous and vile in your own eyes, but…

…you will confess them, and in love He will forgive and cleanse you,…

…and the wonder of His forgiving love will overwhelm you even more.

Soon you will find yourself abandoning your entire being to Him, letting Him fill and control you, letting Him live His life through you.

Then real love, agape, will flow through you to those around you, for the fruit of the Spirit is agape.

The result will be a new you, one who knows how to love in the highest and noblest sense of the word.

~Richard L. Strauss

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13 responses »

  1. It’s so good to be reminded of how deeply we are loved by God, and how His love changes us 🙂

    It was so lovely to see you on my blog today, I have been faithfully checking here to see if you were back from your fishing 😉 I hope you’re enjoying your summer in the meantime, and I’m so looking forward to when you’re home again. Love you lots xo

  2. Hey Sis! – Thanks for the link to Mr Strauss.

    I have to confess it came as somewhat of a shock to me to see he was a pastor in Texas and Ca in the 50’s – 90’s and not a European priest from the middle ages.

    Reading the whole essay and not just the final paragraph or so you quoted i found it hard to believe the same person wrote both.

    “Agape keeps on loving even when its object is unresponsive, unkind, unlovable, or completely unworthy. It desires only the good of the one loved.”

    And so God’s ‘love’ comes ‘full circle’ – back to erotic love, for in wanting the good only of a thing being loved – and that ‘loved one’ then being ‘IN’ Christ and In God, God is loving ‘for/of ‘ Himself 100%.

    The ‘Infinite Conundrum’.

    Love is all things and in everything and everything is in Him and is loved by Him. God is Love.

    While it is very true that as a man sows so shall he Reap – it is true that what a man reaps is in large part down to what it was planted ‘in’.

    If Agape is planted in well-watered, healthy, fertile ‘soil ‘(a body) – healthy Agape is likely the harvest.

    But if it is planted in poorly watered and weakend or poisoned soils… some corruption is to be expected.

    indeed in the human race so far it has been frequently the most common outcome of Agape.

    We have need of making the ‘soil’ fertile and ‘unsalted’ and of letting His water flow through us before planting time.

    As any good farmer will advise us.

    ♥ Sis

    <B

  3. Hey, Birg! I’m not sure I’m back 100%. School starts here on the 24th…that’s the end of summer for us…and the time to cease fishing (relaxing, recuping, restoring…just being a bit lazy). Thank you for your love. I can feel it. xo

    Hey, Love! I’m not sure I understand what bothers you about Strauss’s article. It is one chapter from a book, I believe. I thought it was a great article. Eros and Philia are not used to describe God’s love for us…only Agape. If he’s from the Middle Ages in his thinking, I guess I am too. 😳 Totally unselfish love, putting the other before yourself, sacrificing for another, desiring the other’s best good…that’s agape.

    I want that kind of love to flow from me to others. And the only way I know for it to happen is to allow His Holy Spirit to have full reign in my life. When I get in the way, I make a mess of it. Only in Him am I able to bear, believe, hope, and endure all things.

  4. Sis – i was being sincere in my thanks for the link to Mr Strauss.

    but it was this: in spite of your sinful, selfish attitudes and acts. …
    The wonder of it all may make your sins even more hideous and vile in your own eyes,…’

    sounded so ‘fire and brimstone’ and ‘old’ and as i said seemed so different to the rest of the well thought out tone of the whole essay?

    It was like he threw those lines in just to ‘prove’ God was not just all about love and niceness. – or that we are so unworthy.

    it’s only a part of us that is unworthy. The Greater Part is of, and comes from, Him and we just need to learn to move closer to it is all, like actually LIVE in it – and not spend so much time over at the ‘other place’. The one where everything gets corrupted – including our all too human understanding.

    “When I get in the way, I make a mess of it. Only in Him am I able to bear, believe, hope, and endure all things.”

    You might do well to recognise that there are , in fact, more than one ‘i’ in ‘you’. When you let the human ‘i’ take control that is when you find things go wrong – because ‘i’ gets in the way’. It is when we let the Spirit ‘i’ follow His will and not our own we can get it ‘right’. 🙂

    The trick is to be able to distinguish the difference and not let the human ‘i’ have ANY place in the spirit ‘i’.

    That’s the part that takes the best part of a lifetime to ‘perfect’ in all situations we find ‘ourselves’ (plural).

    When we learn it is not all about (or even partly for) our human ‘i’, but is all about Him in us, we may just have ‘Hope’.

    And be able to show that Agape ‘perfectly’ and not from a ‘corrupt’ base.

    Most of us go for too much too soon and that’s how it goes so wrong. and has for the last 2000 years.

    He works so as to perfect Patience in us. amongst other things 🙂

    <B

  5. Thanks for explaining further, Love. You know, it was those lines that spoke most clearly to me. I’ve found the more I seek Him, the closer I move toward Him…the more clearly I see my sinfulness as it is…vile and hideous. And that brings me to my knees in repentance.

    His holiness, His beauty, His unconditional love…these attributes of Him cause me to understand how very far away I can get. And then I desire more of Him.

    I want my ways to reflect His ways.

    I think Strauss explained this process beautifully. Only in Him are we able to spread agape to the world. The world’s love is not about selflessness…it’s not about sacrifice. The world’s love is about getting all you can get while you can get it…self-serving. God’s love is so completely opposite. His love is perfect, holy love for the other. When I see how selfish my love can be, I want more of Him.

  6. Finding an inspiration source of love of everything, and everyone, is an important part of being able to live life to it’s fullest.

    It brings me joy to read how you Michelle, and everyone who posted a comment, has found the source of their love, as I have.

    For me it’s watching the sun rise over the water, or looking out over a valley from a mountain top. That is when I feel connected, love, for every thing I share my world, universe, with.

  7. Sis – not that it really matters in ‘the scheme of things’ – but i don’t see ANY human part of you as in any way ‘vile and hideous’

    Maybe you’ve learned to hide it very well indeed? 😉

    It’s just your humanity – which God needs so as to ‘grow’ your unique ‘spirit’ I truly do not for a single second believe God sees any of that part of you as vile or hideous in His eyes either as He Knows you have need of it – it is to serve a (His) Purpose.

    Ed – all those things you feel ‘connected to’ that you define as the source of your ‘Love’ – is EXACTLY what i choose to group under the name ‘God’. That ‘connection, that feeling of being a part of a greater ‘whole’ is how i understand God interacting through me and into my life and into the world.

    I don’t accept the somewhat ‘restricted’ vision some people seem to want to make God ‘fit within’ that God can only be a ‘person who is wise and loves His Children and wants a one to one relationship withthem and is ‘apart’ from all His creation.

    While i don’t deny He is able to appear to some as being that way, to me He is far greater than just that one ‘picture’ – He Simply is ALL that is and if i am to achieve my full potential in every way i can i am to work with ‘Him’ rather than trying to operate ‘independently’ of Him.

    He alllows me all the ‘freedoms’ ( in making my own decisions and choices – He just determines the subsequent consequences which i must also accept) that are in my best interests – for the LONG term, not just the short term 🙂

    <B

  8. I can’t help but sing the words to a song I learned way back in the 70’s at FCA meetings (Fellowship of Christian Athletes — I wasn’t an athlete, but that’s where all the cute guys spent their Thursday nights…so…)

    I think the words express well the movement from a theistic mindset to a personal relationship in One who cares about every aspect of our lives.

    In the stars His handiwork I see.
    On the wind He speaks with majesty.
    Though He rules over land and sea,
    What is that to me?

    Til by faith I met Him face to face,
    Then I felt the wonder of His grace,
    And I knew that He was more
    Than just a God who didn’t care,
    Who lived a way up there and —

    Now He walks beside me every day,
    Ever watching o’er me lest I stray,
    Helping me to find that narrow way,
    He’s everything to me!

    Just imagine those words set to a 60’s style ballad and a bunch of teenagers standing around holding hands…whew! That was the definition of cool at my high school. 😳 Quarterback, tight-end, cheerleaders, tennis players, golf team and me, the little choir girl, all standing around…singing.

    But I do love the words. Still.

    Until I met Him face to face and felt the wonder of His grace, what was it to me that He was the Creator who rules over all?

    Is my sin vile and hideous? Yes. And so is yours. Sin is just that: rebellion against our Holy Creator God. And that is hideous. Human? Yes, it is the state of humanity after the Fall. But it’s not the relationship we were created to have. It is separation from God. So, if I want my humanity restored to a place of fellowship with Him, as was in the Garden, then I will come to Him in faith, recognizing the need for cleansing, and repenting of all my unsightly rebellion.

    He is holy.
    He is God Most High.
    He is worthy of my praise.

    He made a way for us to have fellowship with Him. (John 14:6) He sent His Son to take care of all the sin in this world. (Matt. 1:21-22) We are living in “The Year of the Lord’s Favor” — a time when grace has been poured out for all who will come to Him, through His Son, Jesus Christ. (Luke 4:16-19)

    I love spending time in His creation and do feel an amazing connection with Him there. I spend much of my time in my backyard garden singing praises to Him for the beauty which surrounds me. I fellowship with Him there. As I sing praises and revel in His love for me…I am moved to repentance of those things which separate me from His holiness. I desire to move closer and closer to Him…to know more of Him. And as I repent, He cleanses me (my feet, for my whole body has already been washed in the blood of the Lamb) and I move closer into fellowship.

    Sometimes I get so excited for that day when this mortal will put on immortality and I will no longer live in corrupted flesh, but will be made incorruptible. In a moment. In the twinkling of an eye. (1 Cor. 15) For when I am in the body I am away from the Lord, but when this body is gone, I will be forever in His presence…in holiness. No longer corrupted, but perfect in His sight.

    What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see,
    And I look upon His face,
    The One who saved me by His grace;
    When He takes me by the hand
    And leads me through the Promised Land,
    What a day, glorious day that will be.

    Okay…okay…a bit carried away there. I get to preachin’ sometimes and can’t stop. (I do come by it naturally, you should have known my grandfather!) Preaching is my first calling.

    ♥ ♥ ♥

  9. I enjoyed your preaching because you were talking about how you feel. I love reading anything written, or said, with that passion.

  10. My Sis – a Sports Groupie?? Hmmmmmm 😉

    The ‘preachin’ was good – because as Ed said – it did show a little more how your passion lives within you. Nice One Sis.

    Ok – i may have been a bit over touchy on the vile and hideous part, and reading back Strauss (and you) have both correctly defined the SIN – and not the whole body, and especially not the whole person – as those things.

    Some times i think too many of us find it hard to tell the sin from the sinner though and just end up believing we are nothing but crap – and i am never going to buy that – not for me – and not for anyone else. 🙂

    Sin may be ‘in’ me – but it is not ALL that i am.

    Not by a long way – and i am not saying that out of pride or ego (sin) – but from Spirit.

    <B

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