The Fruit and The Vine
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:36-39 (ESV)
God’s benevolence and mercy towards man. Man’s devotion to or adoration of God. The benevolence, kindness, or brotherhood that man should rightfully feel towards others…this is agape, sorta. We can find definitions like this under love in pretty much all dictionaries but this only comes after the romantic and the erotic definitions. I wonder why that is? Is it because our vision of love can only come through our eyes first and we have bought into this notion that romance and sex are our only ways to express to love? Maybe it’s the lust of the flesh kinda love that say’s…”I really LOVE Starbucks Coffee Frappuccino’s with no whip and an extra shot of expresso”. Either way, man’s view of what love is always depends on the man (or woman)…don’t it?
The one thing that isn’t right when we look at the word love is that we tend to see it as a noun, like it is something tangible to grab onto but for the Christian it is and has to be a verb. So if agape is something we should rightfully feel towards another brother (or sister) then maybe we are missing the mark. I know I have, by a long shot. You see I was showing something that I was calling agape but inside, at times, I didn’t feel that agape should be given. This is my noun problem with the word. And even though I might be held to this line after I type it but the agape I should have been showing needed to be more of a reflex than something I thought exhibited I was a follower of Jesus Christ…spent too much on performance not on substance.
There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus was/is a Deuteronomical teacher and in the first part of His reply to the question, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” He demonstrates that with His reply from Deuteronomy 6:5. The idea is to love God, as John Gill puts it, with every measure He measures unto thee, do thou measure unto Him. So if God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life, which is His measure, than you best be using all strength, measured to you, to keep that in the forefront of your mind.
This totally flips the script on what the Pharisees wanted people to believe about the love of YHVH. What Jesus needed folks to understand is His Father’s love is not to be burdensome on us as if it was some downtrodden act of labor but that He wants us to be in the yoke with Him in His love. When we are yoked or “abiding” in Jesus then He is able to extend an unconditional love that He desires to share with us. Then once we experience this with the Savior, the Father will also be in that sense of agape as to be in agreement with the Son as He prayed in the 17th chapter of John’s Gospel.
So my first act of business is to go get me a yoke…no seriously the first act should be abiding. If I claim I’m Christian my first action has to be abiding in His agape, my next act is to apply agape to others so that the action and motion of His love does not just come to a dead end. I would like to cover that but that will be for another Freedom Fighter. I hope you’ll join me. Amen?
While writing this particular Freedom Fighter, my dear brother-in-Christ, James Getz, went home to be with The Savior. James just recently challenged me to exam the fruits of the Spirit in my life. The night I learned of his passing my wife and I were headed to a BBQ held by friends we go to Bible study with. As we assured each other that James made it home we found ourselves behind a red van with a bumper sticker that said…”Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever”. Nough Said. – Chris Hughes is a graduate of the Colony of Mercy and a weekly Freedom Fighter blogger
Think About This: “The Christian’s love for God has by some religious thinkers been divided into two kinds, the love of gratitude and the love of excellence. But we must carry our love to God further than love of gratitude and love of excellence. There is a place in the religious experience where we love God for Himself alone, with never a thought of benefits.”—A.W. Tozer