My kind of love is different. God


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.* (1 John 4:6-7, NIV)
* Greek "agape"

My electronic NIV Bible lists 720 matches for the word love - far more matches than occur for other important words such as faith, joy, money, and Heaven. In fact, God says that he IS love! So if we are to understand our God better, shouldn't we make it a priority to learn all we can about love? To begin with, we are a Fallen Race. Our definition of love is not the same as God's definition of love.

When you take the measure of love, your ruler is not straight.

The English language is sloppy and imprecise. We love chocolate. We love our dog. We love our children. Although we use the same word "love" in each sentence, (hopefully) we mean something a bit different in each. The original New Testament Bible was written in Greek, which is a more precise language than English. In particular, Greek uses different words to distinguish between different kinds of love.

The word translated as "love" in our English version of the Bible occurs 258 times in the New Testament. Almost every time, 248 times out of 258 occurences , the original Greek text uses the word agape. Clearly, God places an extremely high value on this particular kind of love.

The first three loves are "natural loves" given to all people. They are good things. But they are not supernatural. Nobody is surprised when a mother loves her child, or when young couples fall in love. These are in the natural order of things. Jesus says that such things are no credit to you. Even the heathens do this much. Jesus says that He is talking about an entirely different kind of love - God's supernatural agape love. That's why only Christians can have it. (Matt 5:43-48) The world's love is weak. It works only when things are going good. As the Holy Spirit once said to me,

Anyone can love when it's easy.

The result is that marriages, families, and friendships founded on the world's love sooner or later disintegrate. But . . .

Agape love never fails. (1 Cor 13:8)

Agape love is a steadfast decision to love others unconditionally - regardless of how we feel or what we think. Instead of being sustained by our (changeable) emotions, agape love is sustained by God's supernatural power. That's why 1 Cor 13:8 can so confidently state that agape love never fails - because the fountain of God's love can never run dry. The Greek word translated as "fails" in this verse means to give up, quit, walk out, or run dry. If your love has failed, it was never agape love to begin with. It was merely self-interest masquerading as love.

We are not born with the ability to agape love, and we can never develop it on our own. It is a SUPERNATURAL GIFT from God. Jesus said that the world would recognize His followers by the agape love they have for one another (John 13:35). Jesus' death on the Cross is the ultimate expression of God's agape love for you.

If God asked you, "Do you love others with My kind of love?" , what would you tell Him?