Friday, April 1, 2005

Agape Love


Well, I am on a quest to be forever changed by the power of God’s love. A couple years ago I received the revelation that when a person is truly touched by the love of God, that they will be forever changed. Now that doesn’t mean that everyone will accept it, but even for those who choose to reject it, I believe that it would be impossible for them to continue on with life "per usual". The bible tells us that "..perfect love casts out all fear". As we know, God is the only One able to love with a "perfect love", which means that we spend our lives being loved imperfectly...by our parents, our friends, our family, etc. Some people find it easier than others to give and receive love and for those of us who find it a little more difficult, it could possibly be because we’ve never known real love and therefore aren’t able to recognize it for what it is. Now for those of us who belong to God and are baptized into His family, I believe that we have a better understanding of what love is supposed to look like, feel like, etc., but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ve actually experienced it.

You’re probably wondering what brought this on...well, while I was in Africa, one of the other volunteers lent me a book called "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers. This is a fiction novel but it’s based on the book of Hosea from the bible. Hosea was a prophet and a man of God, and wanted God to choose his wife for him. However the woman that God chose for Hosea was a prostitute. He eventually got her to marry him however she kept leaving him to go back to her old lifestyle. I don’t want to ruin any of the book for those who choose to read it (and I highly recommend that you do) but I will tell you that this book is an amazing reflection of what God’s love is like, and it made it very obvious to me that it IS a very tangible thing. When we love someone, even though it’s not something that we can see, it’s something that we feel and know to be real. And when we’re loved by someone, it has the potential to change the way we see things and feel about ourselves. You feel stronger, and more beautiful (and a lot of other things) when you are truly loved by someone. So how much more would we be experiencing these things if we experienced (and not just understood) the perfect love of God?

So, how do we get this? How do we find it? Would we recognize it even if it were right in front of us? I know for a fact that the love of God is a free gift...it’s not something that I can earn. I know some of the characteristics of God’s perfect love, given to us in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. But I don’t know if I’ve ever truly experienced it. I believe with all my heart that God loves me, and I know that He paid the ultimate price because of that love. I know, understand and believe everything the bible tells us about God and His love, but I still don’t think that I’ve EXPERIENCED it. I realize that a lot of you may not understand what I’m saying or where I’m coming from and that’s ok, because I’m having a hard time explaining it - so I can just imagine someone who’s not able to see my thoughts or my heart trying to understand it. I also don’t want anyone to think that I’m upset or whining about this....I’m actually excited! I’m excited because I know that there is so much more to God’s love than what I’ve experienced so far...I’m excited to be forever changed by the perfect love that my Father has for me and I’m so excited to be able to share this with other people so that their lives can also be changed by God’s love.

I wish I had all the answers to these questions already so that I could share them with you right now...but I am still on the journey to discover it. I know that it’s not going to be a "12 step program" or anything like that...I believe that God is daily laying down the foundation of my understanding of His love, and when I’m ready, He’s going to shatter all the wrong mind-sets and misunderstandings of love that I have right now, and He’s going to do "..exceeding abundantly above anything that I could ever ask or even imagine".

I don’t know what made me decide to share all this with you...it’s a little unnerving letting people see inside the deepest crevices of your heart...but I hope you’ll join me in this quest and I know that I can give you the absolute assurance that you will not be disappointed if you are truly seeking after God’s heart.

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