Forest fires begin with a single spark. Our world can change with a single spark, the spark is agape love. Agape love is the love that God has for each of us. And, the love that we, Christians, should emulate and extend to everyone.
Is agape love easy to extend? As humans, we tend to offer love to those who are aligned with our belief systems. Agape love means, extending ourselves beyond loving those who think and live like us. Agape love is unconditional love. “Agape love is a sacrificial love that unites and heals.” Alyssa Roat published an article in Christianity.com entitled, What Does Agape Live Really Mean on the Bible. Alyssa described agape love as being the love of God, that we see through the cross of Jesus Christ. This love saves and restores humanity, in the face of sin and death.
When we practice agape love, we do so out of choice, not out of obligation or attraction, which is conditional. Conditional love chooses to love this group and not that group, this culture, and not that culture, this race, and not that race, this gender, and not that gender, this religious culture, and not that religious culture, those politically leaning in the same way I do, but not that other group. As mentioned earlier, agape love is unconditional, which means that we do not have the freedom to pick and choose.
It is difficult because we are a fallen people who look for satisfaction and things that make us feel good. If we extend agape love to the world in the same way that God sacrificed His only son to save us. It will become a difficult task because the effort does not seek a way to pacify ourselves to feel good, or be satisfied.
The challenge is to step out of our comfort zone and become a ray of love and light for ourselves and for the world to see and experience.
Loving does not necessarily mean that you must like the persons actions or behaviors. It does not mean that you condone those who are doing wrong. It is not a position of compromising truth for non-truth. Agape love focuses on the inner person, the child of God.
Some define agape love as charity. Charity is defined as tolerance, and choosing not to judge other. It means extending yourself beyond your current belief systems.
According to Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary, pages 381-382, agape love expresses itself first of all in implicit obedience to God‘s commands. Agape love is not an impulse from one’s feelings, it does not always run with one’s natural inclinations, nor does it spend itself only upon those whom some affinity is discovered. Agape love seeks the welfare of all. Agape love seeks opportunity to do good to all men. Agape love is a declaration that you are a child of God and reciprocate His love by loving others.
When we declare agape love, we step out of our comfort zone and obey God‘s commands. Our character steps back when we become more like Christ. At this point, we can begin to extend agape love, at which time agape love becomes the spark that changes the world.
One of the focal points for 2023 is entering the application season of agape love. When you put agape love first in your life, all things come together for your good and the good of the world.