Agape; Greek verb meaning to love.
We are approaching Valentine’s Day, a day that Hallmark cards created to celebrate love…especially that of couples. (Does that sound cynical?) It’s a day that my single adult children hate (I remember feeling the same). A day that finds some wives disappointed in their Prince Charming because he just doesn’t get it. A day, like most holidays, that the grieving and lonely hurt more.
Or, it’s a fun day of giving and receiving cards and candy and flowers. A fun day of hearts and kisses. A day of bringing treats and valentines to school. A day of thinking of others.
Regardless of how each of us approaches this particular holiday of expressing love, one fact remains: we are loved. Each of us, individually. You are loved. Even if you don’t feel loved. You are loved.
This week I was studying the book of Ephesians in the Bible. I looked up a word in the Greek with all of its definitions and references. The word was love. The Greek has several words for love, but this one is usually reserved for describing God’s kind of love.
I have known about this verb for a long time, but I was struck anew as I read this definition. To love (agape style): To delight; finding one’s joy in someone; regard with strong affection; to esteem; to direct the will to love someone; willful direction to love.
The Bible repeatedly uses this word about God toward us. God delights in us. God finds joy in us. God regards us with strong affection. God willfully directs His love to us.
Not only this, but also we find in the Bible that God is the source of all love. He is love. He cannot deny His character of love; love is who He is and what He does.
You may not believe the Bible or believe in God; you may or may not go to church; you may or may not have been raised in a loving home; you may or may not feel loved by family and friends. None of this changes the fact that you are personally loved by God, the maker of the Universe.
I have found that people everywhere respond to love. When a person knows and feels loved, they act differently. They seem more positive, more confident. And a person who is loved seems to find it easier to love. Love spills out and makes more love.
God’s love is not the garden variety of the word love that is thrown out everywhere for everything. God’s love is powerful and life-changing. This is the essence of the gospel, the Good News about Jesus Christ. God is love and He has poured out this love and affection and delight on all of us.
There is a caveat: Do we choose this love or not? We can stand under that beautiful, powerful waterfall of unfailing love or we can look at it from a distance. We get to decide. This is where it starts.
“This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” I John 4:10
Jan Roberson has been a mentor in the Bigfork MOPS for 8 years. She has taught in public and private schools, homeschooled and has been a private tutor. Dan and Jan have two adult children, Caitlin and Nathaniel, and have lived in the Flathead Valley for more than 20 years.