Those who know me will walk in agape love. God

Bob 1 Cor 13:13 But the greatest of these is love.

Which do you want? Religion with an agenda? Or agape love with no strings attached?

When Jesus calls us to live a life of love (Matt 5:43-48,Luke 6:27-36), He is not talking about the ordinary human loves such as love for our children (Gr. storge), love for friends (Gr. phileo), or romantic love (Gr. eros). Instead, He is referring to agape love. Agape love is a strong love that never quits and that cannot be quenched by our changeable emotions. Agape love enables us to give others what they need - regardless of how we feel, think, or whether the other person deserves our love. We aren't born with it, and we can never attain it by human effort. Jesus said that the distinguishing mark of true Christians, recognized by all the world, is our agape love for one another (John 13:35). All Christians should have agape love, but in reality only a minority actually do have it. Does that surprise you? It depends upon the depth of your relationship with God. Do you really know Him? Or do you just know about Him?

1 John 4:7-8 Everyone who agapes has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not agape does not know God, because God is agape.

At various times the Holy Spirit has told me:

If you fail at agape love, you have failed at the very heart of your being.

The Holy Spirit within you proves that you belong to God. The agape love within you proves that you know Him.

You're not really free to love until you've learned to love My way.

1 Cor 13: 4-7 - Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it is not touchy and irritable, it keeps no record of wrongs. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (quits, gives up).

Please take a moment for some honest self-examination. Would those who know you best say that you are patient and kind? Not self-seeking? Not touchy and irritable? Not easily angered? Would they say that you forgive and forget? That you don't hold grudges? That you refuse to quit when relationships become difficult? More importantly, what is your track record in your marriage, your family, your close relationships? Does your walk match your talk? Agape love doesn't just happen. It is a seed that grows in the soil of human relationships - as we persevere through disappointments, failures, and heart-aches. If you walk away when love becomes difficult, the beautiful flower of agape love will never bloom in your heart. Please persevere!

The greatest mark of spiritual maturity is not prophecy, speaking in tongues, or wisdom. It's love. Agape love reaches out beyond our little circle of family and friends and touches people who are unlike us or who are difficult to love. It is at the heart of every successful marriage and every lasting relationship. It motivates us to share Jesus with others. Most of all, it is the kind of love God had for us when He sent His son Jesus to be born in a manger and die on the Cross for us. We certainly did not deserve that kind of love and forgiveness. But how desperately we needed it!

Every day of your ordinary life provides countless opportunities to grow in agape love. Are you using these opportunities wisely? The Holy Spirit tells me,

God gives us only so long to learn agape love. Then time is up. Life is over.

Pastor Rick Warren says, "Learning to love unselfishly is not an easy task. It runs counter to our self-centered nature. That's why we're given a lifetime to learn it."

There's a story about a sour old woman who became deathly sick. The Lord gave her several additional years of life, to give her one last chance to learn agape love. In particular, the Lord showed her that the measure of love that we develop on Earth is what we take into Eternity. If we don't develop it now, we don't get a second chance after we die. Therefore, she wisely spent the last years of her life learning to excel at love. I don't know if this story is true. But wouldn't we all be better off if we lived as though it were true?

"Life is short. Forgive quickly. Kiss slowly. Love truly."
from "Daybreak in a Garden", Siegfried Sassoon (1886 – 1967)