agape love

How to Love Your Enemies

“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” – Luke 6:35 Yesterday we talked about EGRs, or those people in our lives who require extra grace. We agreed that the best way to deal with them is to love them. Today, I want to elaborate on how we do that, particularly the fact that our ability to love does not come from a place of trying harder, but rather from transformed character. You see, when we submit to the work of Jesus and cultivate true faith and selflessness, agape love bubbles up from within us! Loving our enemies is not a spontaneous happening, nor is it an end in itself. Rather, it is the fruit of

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You Can’t Love Everyone

“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” – Matthew 22:37-39 To wrap up our discussion on agape love and death to self, I want to encourage you with one final thought: it’s not your job to love everyone! I can almost hear some of you gasp as I write this, but it’s important to know and understand that Jesus never said to go out and love the entire world. Why? Because that’s impossible for us as humans; we are not God and therefore we can’t conceivably love everyone. We can, however, love everyone who’s near us, and that’s what we should do. It’s the Lord’s job to love the world and it’s your job to love your neighbor.

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Death to Self is not Death of Self

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:10 Yesterday, we discussed what it means to die to ourselves, so today, I want to point out what that doesn’t mean. Unfortunately, many of us who were raised in the church learned that death to self means death of self, but this is not the case. There is an important distinction to be made here that keeps us from falling into the trap of legalism and self-condemnation.  Death of self teaches that I don’t matter and that all of my desires are bad or wrong. In other words, it crucifies me as an individual. This, however, is not how God designed it to be. He created each one of His children uniquely and with a purpose, and as the Bible states, we are His handiwork,

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What Love is Not

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:6,7 Yesterday we talked about the purity of agape love and how it can be easily contaminated by selfish desires. As we continue our discussion of what love looks like, I want to share with you two things that it is not.  First of all, love is not what you do, it’s who you become. I think we have a somewhat incorrect understanding of love that is often propagated by well-meaning churches. While it is true that love is demonstrated through action, simply willing yourself to do the right thing doesn’t make you a genuinely loving person. The fact is that love is a matter of the heart, and the ability to give agape love to others comes from within. The kind of love that Jesus demonstrated

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What Motivates Love?

“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.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4,5 For the past week, we’ve been talking a lot about types and characteristics of faith, which is the first element in what I call “the triangle of sufficiency.” In other words, there are three things that you and I need to live in the fullness of the Kingdom of God — faith, death to self, and agape love. For the next couple of days, we’re going to look at the last two, death to self and agape love, in more detail because they go together. Have you ever been annoyed by someone trying to help you or wounded by someone attempting to love you? If you’re like me,

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Faith in Attitude and Action

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1 Last week, we talked about Satan’s three opening moves — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Today, we are going to begin talking about the three opening moves Jesus has that enable us to counter the devil’s attacks on our life: faith, death to self and agape love. For the next few days, we are going to look specifically at faith, because without it, death to self and agape love are not possible.  For those of you who go to church, you hear the word faith often. I think that sometimes we make the whole concept of faith kind of mystic and overly-complicated when the truth is, it’s actually quite simple — it just means trust. For example, when you walk

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Measure of love…

“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.” -1 Peter 1:22 Did you know that love is the measure for every believer? That we are called to love at all times? We are called to love our noisy neighbors, to love annoying people, to love people that cut in line, to love telemarketers that call us at dinnertime, just to name a few. Recently I tweeted out, “I will vote for any politician that makes it his or her primary goal to get rid of telemarketers.” That’s what I care about, and not if they’re Democrat or Republican. I hope you know I’m kidding. In life we’re called to love all people. And all of us know that, right? If we’re Christians, if we’ve gone to church for any bit of time in our lives,

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