February 19, 2016

1 John 4:7-8 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

This and several other passages in the New testament should make it abundantly clear that agape love is qualitatively different from what we usually call love. It’s not that romantic love is bad, it’s that it is inextricably entangled with our emotions and our physical bodies. If that were all we knew, then saying that God is love would be saying that God is beautiful and powerful but He’s completely unreliable! I really think one reason the devil puts so much effort into degrading sex is that in so doing he degrades romantic love, which in turn further clouds our grasp of God’s love. The challenge for people today is getting our minds out of the gutter long enough to receive a revelation of just what God’s love is. We probably all know of marriages that have been wrecked by confusion on this point, and we may have been victims ourselves. It can be very hard to believe that God loves you when “love” has become a dirty word to you. As I have written recently, it is no accident that God chose Greek as the language of the New Testament, not only for the grammatical nuances but especially for the multiple words for love. Even those involved in orgies knew that what they were doing had nothing to do with the love of God! In our human weakness we are unable to generate agape on our own, which is why John could say with confidence that “Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” In English, or Japanese for that matter, that statement is absolutely absurd. The way we experience agape is by faith, opening our hearts to trust the One who loves us that way. Once we do that, we are enabled then in turn to let that love flow through us to others. However, we need to remember that it is a choice. If we let our emotions be in charge, there will be times when we will not feel loved by God and there will certainly be times when we will not feel like loving others. Don Francisco hit the nail on the head when he sang, “Love is not a feeling, it’s an act of your will.”

As I am frequently reminded, I am incredibly blessed to have been raised in a home that was awash in agape. I can certainly not claim to have maintained a consistent hold on it all my life, but I started life with a magnificent foundation. Challenges to my understanding and application of God’s love have been countless over the years, but God has been more faithful than I have been. It is indeed a challenge when people reject the love I express to them, but I am learning not to let that turn off the flow. People ask me questions that show they have a complete lack of understanding of agape, and that is itself a challenge. I need God’s wisdom and anointing to communicate clearly with them, so that the Holy Spirit may open the eyes of their hearts to see God’s love and choose to receive it.

Father, thank You for this Word to complete the message on love that You have me preparing for Sunday! I pray that Your truth would flow through me in the power of Your Spirit, shattering and washing away the lies of the devil so that people will be set free to receive Your love indeed, and then let it flow in turn through them to others, for the salvation of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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