Summary: Once a Believer develops in love, power becomes available, but walking in love is a process that requires sacrifice and development.
Mankind is born with the tendency to think and act selfishly, but the agape love of God is deposited within his heart when he becomes born again. Once a Believer develops in love, power becomes available, but walking in love is a process that requires sacrifice and development.
A. Mankind is born with the tendency to be selfish.
Human beings have stony hearts until they become born again Ezekiel 36:26 NLT “And I will give you a new heart with new and right desires, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony heart of sin and give you a new, obedient heart.”
• The sin nature is present within every person until he or she becomes born again and supernaturally receives a new heart from God. Ezekiel 11:19-20 NLT “And I will give them singleness of heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their hearts of stone and give them tender hearts instead, so they will obey my laws and regulations. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God.”
Adam and Eve rebelled against God because of fear and selfishness, which are opposites of love.
• They feared that God was withholding something they wanted.
• They allowed their senses and negative emotions to guide their decisions, and their actions ultimately cursed mankind to follow their pattern of selfish behavior.
• Babies are born under the curse of being emotionally controlled and selfish.
B. Agape love is supernaturally deposited into the heart of every born-again Believer
The agape love of God enables Believers to share unconditional, unqualified and non-emotional love with God and with others.
Agape love enables a Believer to exercise supernatural power.
• The Believer who walks in agape love has the power to resist sin and keep God’s commandments. John 14:15 NLT "If you love me, obey my commandments.”
• Agape love enables the Believer to do as God commands, which is to respond to his or her enemies with forgiveness, prayer and words of blessing (John 14:15).
• Believers who walk in agape love have the power to edify members of the Body of Christ by considering others first; praying for them and showing compassion whenever possible. John 13:34 NLT “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.”
C. Walking in agape love requires development and training.
Christians build strength to walk in love by experiencing pressure (temptation) and facing resistance (the flesh).
• Temptation to be selfish provides pressure that, when resisted, builds spiritual muscle.
• When temptation occurs repeatedly, continued resistance enables a Believer to grow stronger, move to increased levels of resistance and strengthen the spiritual muscles involved in expressing agape love.
• Satan flees when a Believer uses temptation to build spiritual muscle; a strong Christian who walks in agape love threatens the kingdom of darkness.
Development includes proper spiritual nutrition and rest.
• The spirit man needs the Word of God to be edified, sustained and refreshed during and after spiritual workouts.
D. Selfishness and fear are two primary obstacles to agape in the life of a Believer.
Some Christians allow selfishness to stop them from walking in the unconditional, unqualified love of God (2 Timothy 3:1-2).
• Selfishness is a way of thinking that motivates a person to always seek his or her own advantage, pleasure or well-being without regard for the well-being of others.
• Selfishness will cause lack in the last days.
• Believers can avoid selfishness by purposely seeking the well-being of others.
Fear stops some Believers from walking in agape love.
• Complete surrender is the only attitude that allows Believers to deny themselves and walk in the perfect will of God. Matthew 10:39 NLT “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for me, you will find it.”
• A Believer should never esteem his or her life and purposes above another person’s or above the plans and purposes of God (Matthew 16:25).
• The fear of missing out on pleasure or benefits and experiencing hardship stops many Believers from walking selflessly in the power that comes with love.
• A Believer must deny self, follow God’s instructions and abandon his or her own plans to experience the power that accompany agape love. Matthew 16:24 NLT “Then Jesus said to the disciples, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross, and follow me.”
John 12:24 NLT “The truth is, a kernel of wheat must be planted in the soil. Unless it dies it will be alone--a single seed. But its death will produce many new kernels--a plentiful harvest of new lives.”