February is known as the month of “Love” in the United States. Perhaps this is due to the celebration of Valentine’s Day on February the 14th. Did you know there are three sides to love? Often times when thinking about love we tend to concentrate on the “Eros” side, meaning passion and desire. And, as little children pass out Valentines to their friends the “Philia” side, meaning friendship, is celebrated. However, anyone who has experienced both of these aspects of love, and has lived long enough, will eventually yearn for the third and most precious side of love which is “Agape” meaning selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional love.
This is the love the causes the superhero to throw himself in front of a damsel in distress absorbing the terrible danger into himself and miraculously returning it with force back to the enemy that sent it. This is the love that causes a mother to single-handedly fight off the attack of a wild animal with only her whit and a big stick to save her child from becoming its prey. This is the love that causes a best friend to stare down a ruthless bully on the playground, risking life and limb to stop a vicious attack. This is the kind of love that causes a husband or a wife to stay in their marriage even after a heart-breaking betrayal in hopes to rebuild what has been destroyed. This is the kind of love that brings two people together in marriage even though they are fully aware that one of them has been given a death sentence of only three months to live before the cancer claims yet another life.
Notice that in all of these instances great love was not shown through kisses and pledges of friendship but by standing up to fear. The fear of death, personal injury, loss and additional heartbreak are just a few of the ways that we as humans show our true love to those around us. And yet, we can take no credit for these acts as if they originated with us because all of humanity was created in the image of God and agape love is part of His nature that He has bestowed on us since the beginning of time.
God’s love brings great forgiveness that He bestows upon us when we have indisputably wronged Him and others. His love grants abundant mercy that prevents us from receiving the full force of the punishments that we deserve. God’s great love floods us with His grace and imparts great favor and blessings upon the unworthy. And, let us not forget that God’s magnificent love caused The Father to send his only Begotten Son, Jesus to die for a hateful, fickle, ungrateful, and perverse people in hopes that they would simply believe upon His Name and in so doing be forever, miraculously changed into sons and daughters. This love caused Jesus Christ, our Savior, to endure great stress, great betrayal, great suffering, and great loss all of which would have terrified even the strongest among us and that is why no earthly man could have done it. The fear and shame alone would have over taken us even without the actual physical experience.
So, why did God do it? And more specifically how could God do it?
Because GOD IS LOVE (1 John 4:8).
And, there is NO FEAR IN LOVE;
but PERFECT LOVE CASTETH OUT ALL FEAR! (1 John 4:18).
Therefore, God is perfect and so is His love!
So, My Dear Sister, if you are finding it hard to love God the way He deserves to be loved…and to love those around you properly ask yourself… “What am I afraid of?” For you see, FEAR BLOCKS LOVE. Yes, there are times when fear signals a need for change, so please PRAY, follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit and also seek counsel from your Pastor. But, generally speaking WE ALLOW FEAR to keep us from living a fully abundant life with love, friendships, accomplishments, self-sacrifice, and purpose. So, if we allow something then WE CAN DISALLOW IT as well. Remember, “…God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) Ask God for the power to stop allowing fear to rule our relationships and CAST OUT FEAR today!
1 John 4:4-21
1 Corinthians 13:4-8,13