This is week four in our Bible study, “Learning to Love.” We’re taking a closer look at the Greek word “agape” – God’s love toward man, and our reflection of this love. If you’d like to join our study, click here to find the free Bible study guide and all of the information you’ll need to join in.
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Q. Do we record our thoughts in the Quieting Your Heart Journal or the study guide?
A. I prefer to keep mine all in one book, so I record everything in my Quieting Your Heart journal. Some people don’t have the journal, so they use the study guide and a separate prayer journal on the side. You can do it either way.
Q. It’s week 4. Am I too late to join in?
A. Not too late at all. Grab a copy of the free study guide and start on week four. You can catch up on the other three weeks at the end of the study.
An Introduction to Agape
Imagine you go out on a Saturday afternoon and buy the most awesome car you’ve ever laid eyes on. This is the car of your dreams—the one you’ve been saving your entire life for. After driving it off the lot, you see one, then another, and another… soon you realize that every single car on the road is identical to yours. They’re free to anyone who walks through the door.
Suddenly, the excitement is gone. Why? Because man has a natural desire to be recognized for who he is, and loved for what he’s accomplished.
To the wretched man who can’t afford a car? To him this gift is everything.
We work hard, we achieve. We’re good looking, we get dates. We’re friendly, we have friends. We have money, we can buy. We’re loving, we’re loved back.
Logic tells us that love is earned, God tells us that it’s a gift.
In the parable of the prodigal son we read about a young man who asked his father for his share of the estate. He traveled off to a far land where he squandered his inheritance. Long story short, he left full and returned empty.
With nothing to offer his Father but the rags on his back, he made his way home. And what did the Father do when he saw him coming down the road?
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
The son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”
But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” So they began to celebrate. – Luke 15:20-24
Naturally the older brother was angry. This didn’t make sense to him. He stood by his father working all of those years, while his brother was gone.
Agape doesn’t make sense. It’s foolishness to the self righteous. It goes against our desire to be recognized for what we’ve done and loved for who we are. But to the sinner who understands the depth of his sin, it’s everything.
Agape reflects the unconditional love of God.
If we love others expecting a reward, payback, or response, we’ll be met with disappointment time and again.
One of the biggest mistakes we can make is to expect a reward for our love, or to measure the success of our efforts by another’s response. Jesus loved us. What He got in return was rejection that led to His death.
Love has no reward in and of itself, for every perfect gift comes from the Father.
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. – Colossians 3:23-24
We’re not here to serve man. We’re here to serve God. We love because He first loved us. When that’s our only motive and incentive, agape love makes sense.
Click here to download and print this week’s questions.
These questions can be used for group study or for self reflection
Week at a Glance
Click here to download this week at a glance.
This can be printed out, and kept in your Bible for quick reference during the week.
Love Collection Scripture Cards:
These printable scripture cards can be kept close through the week.
They give us a love related verse to meditate on throughout the day.
Click here for this week’s coloring page
“Greater love hath no man than this…”
I hope you enjoy this one! Come back this Friday for another coloring page