Reflections of Grace 25: Walking in the Spirit – Agape Love

Galatians 5:22-23 says:   “But the fruit of the Holy Spirit the work which His presence within accomplishes is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 says: If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

  • Have you ever heard speakers who said all the right things but their personalities were as cold as ice, or their tone of voice was offensive? Did you find it grates against your spirit? Paul goes to the extreme by saying essentially “neither material abstinence nor martyrdom would gain me a thing without love”…then in 1 Cor. 13 4-8 Paul provides a perfect description of agape.
  • Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
  • Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

First we learn that agape is patient.  Next in 1 Corinthians 13 we read that agape is kind. then we read that agape does not envy. Agape does not boast. (or brag), 5th we learn that agape is not proud…

  • The sixth characteristic of agape is that it is not rude.   Rude in the Greek means, to behave in an ugly, indecent, unseemly or unbecoming manner.”  We have all been around crude, obscene people.  They not only expose their shame, but they also cause others to feel ashamed to be in their presence.  A truly spirit filled believer immediately senses that the HS is offended in the presence of obscenity.    The destructiveness s of indecency comes from the minds tendency to replay events, words, or pictures.  If we experience and replay those events often enough, we lose our sensitivity.  Agape is never obscene.  If we partake of these things we cripple our ability to exercise God’s kind of love.
  • 7th we are reminded that agape is not self-seeking.  Agape seeks the highest and the best for another.  Self-seeking is the polar opposite of agape.
  • 8th Agape is not easily angered.  The fact that agape is not self-seeking has great impact on its ability to slow to anger.  Much of what triggers us is a result of how we perceive we are personally affected by a situation.  When you look at the last phase, “slow to anger and rich in love” the assumption is that we cannot be rich in love while at the same time be quick to anger.   Proverbs 15:1 says a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. And 15:18 says “A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.  Where do we find the patience?  How do we walk in it?
  • The 9th fruit in scripture teaches us that agape keeps no record of wrongs
  • 10th characteristic is that agape does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
  • 11th, agape always protects…the Greek word here means to cover over in silence…it simply means that love does not expose the faults of other.  Ouch!
  • The 12th is that agape always trusts. And the 13th is that it always hopes. The Greek word here is that we ‘expect with desire.”  In the context of agape to hope in someone means to trust them…to expect the best from them.
  • The 14th characteristic of agape is that love always perseveres.  Agape hangs in there with people.
  • And finally agape never fails.   Agape is never without affect, and is never in vain.

If we allow God to exercise agape through us, no matter how it appears, no matter what happens, it will never be in vain.

Okay, are you thinking what I am thinking after going over all of what agape is?   I can’t do it!!!  How can I love someone who hates me and gossips about me and hurts me?  Oh, Lord how can I do this?

Well, here is the truth.

  • WE are incapable of agape.  No matter how hard we try, we cannot exercise this type of love…  We cannot love the unlovely.  We cannot love those who do not love us.  We cannot love those who hurt us.
  • Agape is a divine love.  It is the heart of God.  It is the heart of God expressed through us to others.  It is a response more than a feeling.

We ourselves are not capable of agape or any of the other fruit without his power…but would he say we should walk in something and hot show us how to supernaturally do it?  It is by faith my friends….

Agape, and all the other fruit, begin as a response and ends with a feeling.   Do it by faith and your feelings will catch up.

  • Agape is expressed through me when I surrender to the empowerment and temperament of the Holy Spirit.

His love for us is beyond my deepest comprehension.

1 John 3:18 says my dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality.

  • Do you believe this?  If you do then you must believe that God is greater than your heart.  Even a heart that says: I don’t love this person anymore… I will never be able to love God more than myself, it is hopeless or I am imprisoned by selfishness…All these phrases and more are ways in which your heart condemns you and convinces you are only human.  God is greater than our hearts.

Because he first loved us, we are free to love Him and to loves others with the same kind of agape..Calvary made this possible… we have been so deceived… love is not blind, but when we are vessels of true agape love our spiritual eyes will be open like never before, because only true love can really see right into the heart of God.

1 Corinthians 13:13   and now these three remain, faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.

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