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It’s Worth All the Effort

To love better…

I have become convinced that the quality of our life here on Earth is determined by our understanding of love and our ability to love.  Love is an emotion. I have a deep affection for my wife, my children, my parents, and those I am closest to. Nevertheless, the Scripture says love is patient (1 Corinthians 13:1) and patience is something I can work on.  We must also conclude then that love is a skill that can be improved upon. How’s your skill? How well are you loving those around you?

There are a few different words in Scripture for love.  One love is conditional love. It is our ability to love those who love us.  As long as they are patient with us, we can be patient with them, but as soon as they lose their patience, this type of love cannot remain patient.  As long as they are kind to us, we can reciprocate, but once someone betrays us, this kind of love cannot continue to be kind and will justify the opposite.  This is the love that Jesus says even pagans possess (Matthew 5:46-47). The love of God is far superior.

 

For healthy relationships…

Agape is the Greek word representing the love of God.  This is the love that describes Jesus, who even as people are unjustly nailing Him to the most horrific torture and death device in history, He prays for them to be forgiven by God (Luke 23:34).  This is the love that breathes health and wellness into our relationships. It produces passionate marriages and loving relationships between parents and children, even parents and teenage children-yes, that’s right-it’s a miraculous love 🙂  But this love is not natural to us. This conditional love is born within. The unconditional love we see in Christ, that loves while not being loved, must be attained. It must be given to us and we must go after it. It is a treasure worth all the effort.  It changes everything, revolutionizes relationships. Where does it come from? That question brings us to the Verse of the Day:

 

1 John 4:19

19 We love because he first loved us.

(NIV)

 

This love is not natural, but supernatural…

This love comes from God given through the Holy Spirit.  It is impossible to love unselfishly and without condition consistently without the power of the Holy Spirit.  Some may feign this love but with secret, selfish motives. The impurity of this love will be seen at some point when love is not returned.  But when we love with agape, we are consistent. We become safe places where people can know they will receive grace even when they do not behave well.  They know condemnation is not part of our way. People are drawn to this because it is a rare treasure in our world. We love because He first loves us. He pours His love into us (Romans 5:5) that we might love others and ourselves.  

This love requires a continual connection and submission to the Holy Spirit.  This is what makes it difficult to maintain. Our sinful nature works continually against it.  When we break with the Spirit, even those we have the deepest affection for will be a victim of our rage.  Agape require emotional and spiritual work. Effort must be always pouring out of us to deny our selfish ambitions and cravings that come from the flesh that we might hold tight to the Holy Spirit allowing His love to flow in and through us.  

 

Transform your life…

If you are reading this and your relationships are not what you want them to be; if you are reading this and you don’t really even love yourself, then you need to get into the presence of the Holy Spirit.  We do this through worship, prayer, community with believers (church), and being still. As we do these things, we experience physically the feeling of being loved unconditionally. It is like no other feeling.  But then the Spirit teaches us about ourselves, about God and His agape. The combination of being in the presence of God, understanding the love of God, then choosing to live according to agape by the power of the Spirit is a life-changing endeavor.  In fact, it is a bloodline-transformer. It is a generational curse-breaker. It is everything. 

Now, here is the best part.  This love is free. All the components I mentioned above to receive agape cost nothing.  They can be done at any moment, anywhere. You could be in a third world country and still find this love.  You can be in any airport, stuck in traffic, or sitting in church. God is agape and He is always available to you.  He is ever-present (Psalm 46:1).

Are you ready to transform your life, your soul, your relationships?  Seek out the agape. He has already poured it out as a gift to you. No better season than now to pick up this transcendental gift from God, open it, and put it on.  Let’s strive to always love better.

Please, forward this to anyone who may need to hear it.  My prayer is that it would reach the ears of those who need to hear it the most.

Live Blessed and Be a Blessing!

Pastor Lee.net

PS: To get these devotions sent directly to your inbox each day, simply reply and say “Send me the devotions.”



Pastor Lee and AmyPastor Lee is a pastor and Biblical life coach.  He has been helping people through counseling, pastoring, teaching, and preaching for 20+ years.  His ministry focuses on helping people overcome the strongholds of the past and press on into God’s plan for an abundant life.  He has been married to his wife, Amy for 28 years.  He has three sons and one daughter-in-love.  For more about Pastor Lee or to get some Biblical advice, go to the About page.

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