“Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12).
Most of us can relate to some of the following thoughts from “The Vine” devotional (12-23-09):
Are you complaining because someone has disappointed you? Are you keeping score when it comes to gift giving, initiating phone calls, or picking up the tab? Are you upset because you feel like you give more than you get? Jesus experienced all these things- and more. His closest friends let Him down. Those He called and counted on, often proved to be unreliable and immature. They learned slowly, and usually the hard way. One doubted Him, one denied Him, and one even betrayed Him. Yet He forgave them and loved them anyway. “Having loved his own … he loved them unto the end” (John 13:1). Jesus loved His friends not because they were worthy of His love, but because His love made them worthy. Love does that!
“Having loved His own who were in the world, He now showed them the full extent of His love” (John 13:1b, NIV).
Agape love is a distinctive kind of love; but, on our own, we are incapable of agape. Have you ever tried to love the unlovely? Perhaps you have said about a difficult person, “I know God loves him. Maybe even his mother loves him . . . and I’m trying!” Quite simply, we cannot. We cannot love those who do not love, the obnoxious, those who hurt us. However, if we let God agape through us—if He is calling us to love that extremely difficult person, we can rejoice knowing that if we obey Him, agape love will always be effective!
This agape love begins when we trust Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, simultaneously allowing His love to flow through us to others. With God’s Spirit living within, our lives begin to change, and when love is present, there is a mighty power within that gives us the capacity to walk in the freedom that only agape love can give. It will flow through us as an inexhaustible resource that enables us to focus on others rather than ourselves.
God wants all of us to be walking fountains, bubbling over with His agape love. His perfect love becomes our heartbeat. And, remarkably, we will find that the more love we give away, the more love we will have to give. It is the awesome gift of God that magnifies our freedom to love/serve and brings Him glory. What joy!
To love our neighbors as ourselves
Is not an easy thing to do;
So Lord, please show us how to love
As we attempt to follow You. –Sper