While I was reading a book this morning I was drawn again to the chapter on love, specifically Agape love which is God Love. 1 Corinthians 13:4, was seen in a new light thanks to the revelation of the Holy Spirit. As I read that familiar verse over again, that was read at my own wedding eighteen years ago, it took on a new meaning in me.
Love (Agape) is patient, and kind, it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not arrogant, or rude, it is not self-seeking, and is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs, it does not delight in evil, it rejoices with the truth, it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres, Love never fails.
The Holy Spirit reminded me that God is Love (Agape), 1 John 4:8.
Agape Love is centered on preference, it literally means “to prefer.” If God is Love at His very core than each of the above characteristics of Love (Agape) is a very description of who God is, but it also is the characteristics of who Jesus is. God preferred us so much that he sent His son into this world so that none should perish. (1 John 4:9, John 3:17) We know that Jesus came to show us the Father, he said if you have seen me you have seen the Father. John 14:9 That shows us that Agape describes not only God but also Jesus.
Let’s look at the meanings behind each of these Agape characteristics of Daddy or my Beloved (Jesus). Part of who we are as believers is the Bride of Christ so look at these verses in two ways, as they apply to Daddy and as they apply to you as the Bride. If you have not yet believed that Jesus came on your behalf than I would encourage you now if you are being called to that to ask Holy Spirit, are you the Bride of Christ. If he says no and you’d like to be known by him and become the Bride of Christ then all you have to do is believe that you Jesus came and died for you to be just that. Declare it with your mouth and you are saved. (and yes Holy Spirit can talk to those who don’t yet believe, I’ve seen it firsthand) I would also challenge you who are believers to ask Holy Spirit this, “Am I believing these truths about God’s nature and my marriage to Christ or not,” then be brave enough to listen to what he tells you. Ready? Here we go.
1) Patient: persevere, long-tempered (to defer anger), refusing to retaliate with anger
Daddy (my Beloved) refuses to retaliate with anger, he is cool calm and patient. If the God you know is an angry God this does not line up with His identity of Agape.
2) Kind: gentle, full of service to others, good and kind
Daddy (my Beloved) is gentle and kind and delights in serving us and giving us the desires of our hearts. If the God you know if mean and rude and wants us to serve Him before He will bless you, this does not line up with His identity of Agape.
3) Is not Jealous: to bubble over because so hot (boiling). Please note here that there are two types of Jealousy, a righteous jealousy as could be seen in marriage but more importantly in our identity as the Bride of Christ, and as an unrighteous jealousy as Paul was address here that leads to envy, malice, and discord. Righteous jealousy is against anything that rightfully belongs to the spouse.
We have come to think that all jealousy is bad in our society today but that is not the case. If I am jealous over my husband having an intimate relationship with someone else is that righteous jealousy or am I trying to provoke discord? I would say that is righteous as we have previously entered into covenant with each other and that is being broken, this is not God’s desire for my marriage. Not all jealousy is bad, it is the heart and intent behind it that determines which it falls under. For example, God is a jealous God as we can see through scripture so one could think this verse is contradicting others in the bible but it is not because the audience Paul was speaking to here was entered into envy and malice in their jealousy as they were desiring the giftings others had and they wanted them.
As the most affectionate husband could be jealous for his spouse because he wants the best for them our Heavenly Husband is jealous for us with a righteous jealousy. When we are walking in not the best there is for us, it springs forth, out of His Love. Love and jealousy are not always opposite of each other, sometimes they are spurred by each other and that is where righteous jealousy comes from. In 1 Corinthians 12:31 Paul urges them to Earnestly desire which means be jealous for (same word used in 13 for jealousy) the greatest (biggest) gift and gift here is charismata with is the free gift of Grace. The free gift (charismata) of God is eternal life (zoe life) in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
He was telling them if you desire and are jealous for that free gift of Grace instead of healing, prophesying, etc. he would show them a still more excellent way, which I believe is what he goes into when he explains the Agape love that resides in each of us. He goes on to say that even with all the giftings if you don’t have Agape they are worth nothing.
Daddy (my Beloved) is not jealous in a way that causes discord and envy and malice in our life. His desire is for us to have his zoe life and have it abundantly.
4) Does not boast: act as a braggart, a show off who needs much attention, vainglory (inordinate pride in oneself or one’s achievements)
Daddy (my Beloved) does not need my attention, He is not prideful or boasting of what He can and Has done. If your God throws in your face all the good things he’s done for you to get your attention, if he puts time limits and requirements on the time you need to spend with Him that’s not His Identity.
5) Is not arrogant: puffed up, egotistical person spuing out arrogant thoughts
Daddy (my Beloved) is not proud, he does not make claims or pretensions to superior importance or rights, he does not carry himself with a sense of superiority and entitlement. (This one was hard for me because I revere Him and I know that he has every right to do these things as he is these things but he chooses to lay those aside to “prefer me.” If that doesn’t humble you what will. WOW!)
6) Does not act unbecomingly: improperly, indecent, lacking proper appeal, lacking respect, uncomely
Daddy (my Beloved) is always decent, and respectable. He is always appealing to me and respects me to the highest regard. If your God forces His Will and Ways on you and heaps up expectation after expectation and task after task to earn his approval, that is not His Identity.
Stay tuned for Part 2.
(To Be Continued…….)