Summary: In part one we discussed the four types of love and how for us to live a healthy and fulfilled life we all need to experience love at all four levels.

In this Part, our focus will be Agape Love. Now let’s look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8,13 GNT

Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth.

Love is eternal. There are inspired messages, but they are temporary; there are gifts of speaking in strange tongues, but they will cease; there is knowledge, but it will pass. Meanwhile, these three remain: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love.”

Agape love which is the love of God is the greatest force on earth. It has two components - Patience & kindness. This is the love that cements Philia, Eros, and Storge, especially within a marriage relationship. If humans can add agape love to all relationships, there will be no more broken homes, divorces, death from domestic violence, the prison system will not be needed. There will be no war between people, communities, and nations. In fact, the earth will be a peaceful place.

How then can a person express Agape love? Before a person can express agape love, that individual must have first experienced it personally. The one who can express agape love would have encountered, received, embraced and appropriated agape. For it is impossible to give what you don’t have. One of the main sources of frustration some people had experienced in their quest for love, is that they expect partners, relatives or friends to love them unconditionally when they, the friends do not know what agape love looks like. They themselves are also searching for agape love.

To experience agape, a person must have encountered God who is love personified. John the Apostle puts it this way “Dear friends, let us love one another because love comes from God. (8) Whoever loves, is a child of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.”

(16) And we ourselves know and believe the love which God has for us. God is love, and those who live in love live in union with God and God lives in union with them.

(19) We love because God first loved us.” 1 John 4:7-8,16,19

Once we have met with God who is love, then we are now able to share that love with somebody else. However, receiving the love of God is one thing, the ability to share this love is another. Agape cannot be expressed unless all obstacles to love are removed.

What are these obstacles?

Again, let’s look at 1 Corinthians 13:4b-8.

Love is not jealous or conceited or proud; (5) love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; (6) love does not keep a record of wrongs; (7) love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. (8) Love is eternal, (never comes to an end).

The obstacles are what love is not: Love is not jealous, boastful, proud, rude, does not demand its own way, is not irritable, keeps no record of being wronged or thinks no evil, love does not rejoice in iniquity (about injustice). All of these items listed are the obstacles to receiving, experiencing and expressing love. Until we allow Jesus through the study of His words to heal us from these negative emotions we will not be able to receive God’s love. If we are incapable of receiving God’s love, it is therefore impossible to share the same love with others. To remove the obstacles to love, we first need to identify and understand agape love.

Love is a thing of the will. It is an act. It is a fruit that the Holy Spirit produces in us as God’s children. Love is sacrificial. Love is giving up of a valued thing for the sake of something else more important, worthy and urgent. Love is the willing sacrificial giving of oneself for the benefit of another without thought of return. The bible puts it this way: “No! Love your enemies and do good to them; lend and expect nothing back. You will then have a great reward, and you will be children of the Most High God. For he is good to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful just as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:35-36

1: Love is patient. A patient person never gives up. The word patient also means long-suffering: not in strife but patient with others. Patience also means endurance. To suffer, to undergo pain, hardship, difficulties, problems without giving up. As humans, by nature, we are quick to throw people out of our lives who are giving us grief which is portrayed in the high divorce rates in today’s society. However, expressing agape love means always being patient with others. When you are being patient, you are sacrificing something. Maybe your right, comfort, pleasure or time. For example, 1 Corinthians 6:6-8 says “you should allow yourself to be defrauded rather than go to court with a fellow brother or sister”. That is, if you are a Christian, a fellow brother or sister means fellow Christians.

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