1 Timothy 1:14, “The love that is in Christ Jesus.”
It is easy to love when someone loves you, isn’t it? Reciprocal love is sweet and special. But how do you love when someone does not like you? How about when they throw abuse in your face? Hate you? Disrespect you? Misuse you? What do you do then? Maybe you can cope with it when it is someone outside the home. It is not so personal. But how do you cope when they are members of your own family? Help!
I am sure you are familiar with the different Greek words for love. The first is eros which is sexual love. It gives pleasure to the senses. It is a God-given love, but this kind of love is not enough to hold a marriage together for life. It takes other kinds of love—phileo (and storge, which is similar to phileo) and agape. Phileo and agape are both necessary in marriage and family life, and, of course, in all relationships.
Phileo is tender affectionate love. It is a maternal love. It is the love we feel with our emotions. Titus 2:4 speaks of phileo love when it exhorts the young women to “love their husbands, to love their children.” Some marriages live happily together when both show phileo love to one another. But when phileo love turns off in either the husband or wife, then there are problems. It is then we need agape love.
Agape love is God’s love. It is the very character of God. It goes beyond natural feelings. It keeps loving even when abused and hated. It keeps loving even when the person is ugly and horrible. Agape loves because it wills to love whereas phileo loves according to how we feel. Agape loves indiscriminately whereas phileo discriminates. Agape loves unconditionally whereas phileo is conditional. Agape loves in spite of, whereas phileo loves because of. Agape love never fails whereas phileo love often fails.
Agape love is not in you or me! My flesh only knows phileo love. Agape love is only in Christ. 1 Timothy 1:14 and 2 Timothy 1:13 speak about “the love which is Christ Jesus.” The amazing revelation is that Christ Jesus lives in me! Because He lives in me by His Holy Spirit, agape love is in me! Wow! In Christ I can love with agape love! This is miraculous. This is supernatural. Can you believe it? As we believe it, affirm it, confess it and walk in it by faith, we can love the unlovely, love when abused, love when rejected, love when despitefully used. Oh the power of redemption. Jesus Christ not only redeems us from our sin, but comes to indwell us by His Holy Spirit with all His love, joy, peace and longsuffering.
Agape love is described by different words in the New Testament. Shall we look at them together? Each one of the following 31 points are a real challenge to me but the last one I mention is the one that God is really speaking to me about as I mother in the home. You’ll have to keep reading to the end of Part 5 to find out!
Agape love is not hypocritical. The Knox translation calls it “unaffected love”. It is unaffected by circumstances or the behavior of the person. Read Romans 12:9; 2 Corinthians 6:6 and 1 Peter 1:22.
Genuine and Sincere Love
“To prove the sincerity of your love.” (2 Corinthians 8:8)
“By love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13) The word serve is doueuo which means to serve like a slave. We don’t serve because we are a slave but we serve as hard as a slave is expected to serve. We serve because we love. Many times you can feel overwhelmed by the tasks you face as a mother. There is so much work to do. Every sweet little child adds more work. Your husband expects you to do this and do that. Help! You feel like a slave! Dear mother, change your thinking. Don’t think of yourself as a servant. Think love. Love loves to serve. Love serves with delight. Love is serving.
“Forbearing one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2) Forbearing means to endure and put up with those who are difficult to put up with! It means to bear patiently with idiosyncrasies that annoy you. This kind of love bears lovingly with the weaknesses of those in those in your home. I love the Way’s translation of 1 Corinthians 13:4 which says, “Love is long-forbearing.”
Love from NANCY CAMPBELL
“Lord, my love is totally inadequate. I thank you so much that your agape love resides in me. Please help me to walk in your love. Amen.”
I am entering into a new realm of love.
Many women like to save these devotions. They print them out and keep them in a folder to read over and over again. Some print them out and pin them on the fridge with a magnet to read through the week.