Vessels of Agape

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Here is an amazing truth: Those who are saved are sealed with the Holy Spirit, and He dwells within them. We are then temples of the Spirit of God. How amazing is that?

How often would we rebel, resist the Lord, and commit public and secret sins if we kept ever before us the thought “We are the temple of the Spirit of God? He is with me, always. He keeps me, desires for me to know and seek Him, and to develop my relationship with Him. If I do these things, He will satisfy my deep inner longings in ways that I never thought possible. The emptiness that I could not fill with relationships, sins, escap-isms, and addictions will be filled with HIM. And then, when I have spent my physical life walking with Him, I will be blessed to spend eternity with Him.”

 Hallelujah, praise the Lord.

Yet, while here on earth, He communes with us. The Holy Spirit enables us to live a life of worship that is both in spirit and truth. We are living stones, offering our lives as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-3) through the leading of the Holy Spirit in accordance with the Word of God. As children of God, we strive to live a life of worship: a heart submitted continually to the will of the Spirit, a life led continually by the Spirit, and a mind renewed continually through the power of the Spirit. As true worshippers, we are transformed into ever increasing Christ-likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18), a holy priesthood whose lives point to the glory of God, and who live as conquerors through the word of our testimony and by the grace and power of the blood of the Lamb (Revelations 12:11).

True worshippers not only experience the blessing of transformation, but also share in the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), discerning the will of God. And what is the will of God? What is His acceptable, good, and perfect will (Romans 12:3)? Actions, thoughts, and words that reflect these two commands:

To love the Lord our God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.

And to love our neighbor as ourself.

These commands, listed together as the most important commands, are found in all four gospels. In each of the gospels the Greek word agapeo, or agape, is used to denote the term ‘love’. There are three different types of love denoted in the New Testament:

Eros – which actually refers to desire, or sensual love.
Philos – which is a brotherly love.
Agape – which is the most supreme love. It is unconditional and perfect. In 1 John 4:8, when John declares definitively that “God is love”, this is the word that is used. Agape love is not only an attribute of God, but is poured out from God (1 John 4:7-8).

When we agape our God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, we commit everything we are and have to Him. We seek Him to know and understand His will, and then we set about obediently, determined and committed to carrying it out.
When we agape our neighbor as ourselves, we humbly “count others more significant” than ourselves, and look to the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-5).

Agape love is not a sideline love.

Agape love for our neighbor compels us to action that is in the best interest of others.

Unconditional love that springs not from ourselves, but from the Holy Spirit, and that drives us to put upon ourselves the troubles and weight of others, is the true fulfillment of the law.

Unconditional Love Sign

 

Paul affirms this in Galatians 6:2 which reads: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

The Greek word, baros, is used in the scripture to denote ‘burdens’ and means: heaviness, weight, burden, trouble.

The Greek word, bastazo, is used in the scripture to denote ‘bear’ and means: to take up with one’s hands; to put upon oneself; to bear away; to carry off. Bastazo is also used here:

“We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as is written, ’The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.’” (Romans 15:1)

“This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took our illnesses and bore our diseases’. (Matthew 8:17)

This is the type of love that led Jesus to speak with a Samaritan woman who had been married five times, and who was currently living in an immoral state. His agape love for this unnamed woman, and her Samaritan brothers and sisters, and His agape love for His Father, propelled him to go through and stop in a land that most Jews avoided, for fear of becoming unclean through proximity. The English Standard Version reads that “He had to pass through Samaria”. The King James Version expresses it as such, “He must needs to go through Samaria”.

This is a type of love that satisfies the soul, as it accomplishes the will and the work of the Father.  It proclaims and declares the goodness of the gospel, which brings light to the darkness, freedom to the bound, and salvation to the lost. It is a love that is impossible to accomplish by human ability, or to understand with the natural mind.

Love and the cross metaphor

 

When we bear the burdens of others, compelled by agape, we truly walk in Christlikeness. We reflect a love that bore our sins, and took our death sentence upon Himself.

Further, once we have taken the heaviness and burdens of others upon ourselves, we can not easily walk away from the weak, or broken, or discouraged – but find that like Christ we must needs to go to, even if it means we must go through.

We, as living sacrifices, and temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), are not our own, but have been saved to be busy about the work and will of God, through faith, obedience and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Praise the Lord.

Dear Lord,

Please help us to examine ourselves, our choices, beliefs, and secret thoughts to determine whether they reflect obedience to your command to love You, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Where we have not loved as You desire, help us to receive the agape love that You have already poured out to us. Encourage us to strive to walk in submitted obedience. Change us into vessels of agape who willing to be poured out for others. In Jesus name we pray. We love you. Amen.

Hands of Jesus pouring