TO CHEW ON: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16.
John 3:16 is probably the most-memorized verse in the Bible. One problem with it rolling as easily off our tongues as it does is that we no longer feel the huge impact of its meaning. Much of the power of John 3:16 comes from one little word—the verb "loved." "God ... loved (agapeo) the world."
[Agapao is unconditional love, love by choice and by an act of the will. The word denotes unconquerable benevolence and undefeatable goodwill. Agapao will never seek anything but the highest good for fellow mankind. Agapao (the verb) and agape (the noun) are the words for God's unconditional love. It does not need a chemistry, an affinity or a feeling." "Word Wealth," New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1447.] Emphasis added.
God demonstrated agapeo love when He gave the world His only Son Jesus (John 3:16). Jesus prayed that this love would be in His disciples (John 17:26). Paul describes this agape kind of love in human action in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. It is love that:
- suffers long and is kind.
- does not envy.
- does not parade itself.
- is not puffed up.
- is not rude.
- doesn't seek its own.
- is not provoked.
- thinks no evil.
- rejoices in truth.
- bears, believes, hopes, and endures all things.
- never fails.
We are to love (agapao):
- each other (John 13:34).
- our neighbours (Matthew 19:19).
- even our enemies (Matthew 5:44).
We prove that we love God in this way when we obey Him (John 14:15). In fact our obedience gives us a special place in God the Father's heart. He loves us, will manifest (or show) Himself to us (John 14:21) and make His home with us (John 14:23).
I ask myself, will I, by an act of my will, choose to love this way today?
PRAYER: Dear God, I so easily slip into the notion of "love" as a feeling or emotion over which I have no control. The love that You want me to have is an intentional choice. Help me to learn this kind of love by living it today. Amen.
MORE: "How Deep the Father's Love for Us" by Sarah Sadler