|Today’s Woman’s Bible study (Beth Moore’s Breaking Free) was a tough one for me, but I am beginning to see how much God has changed me. The subject was God’s agape love – and then some questions about how much we love God back.
Beth covered the fact that we love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19)
Then she talked about how love motivates obedience (we trust Him when He directs us, even when it doesn’t make sense to us), it motivates perseverance, and safety. We need to know how much God loves us, then we can love others.
There are some common strongholds that prevent us from believing God’s agape love.
One is that we sometimes believe a lie. Satan’s scheme is to convince us that God doesn’t love us (that His love is conditional and we are so sinful, bad, dirty, ugly, etc. that God couldn’t love us if He wanted to). And also satan wants to convince us that we love God when we don’t love Him the way we think we do. We think we wholeheartedly love God, but we phileo (brotherly love) not agape (unconditional love) Him.
We talked about John 21:15-25 (Context, the disciples were fishing, and Jesus appeared to them, and had a conversation with Simon Peter – who had denied Christ three times, so Jesus will ask the same question three times. Note that the word “Love” is used in the text, and I am going to substitute the Greek word used so you can see something important.”
“So when thy had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you AGAPE Me more than these? He said to Him, “Yes Lord: You know that I PHILEO You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” He (Jesus) said to him again a second time, Simon, son of Jonah, do you AGAPE Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord: You know that I PHILEO You.” He (Jesus) said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He (Jesus) said to him the third time, Simon, son of Jonah, do you PHILEO me? Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you PHILEO me?” And He said to Him, Lord you know all things, You know that I PHILEO You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”
Note, Jesus wanted Peter to AGAPE him, but Peter was not fully committed, he could only PHILEO Jesus. AGAPE means to esteem, reverence, direct will, choose and be determined to love God, finding one’s joy in something or someone, love with the best interest of the other in mind. Phileo is brotherly love, love because of common interests.
It is interesting that in 1 Peter, he finally can say that he AGAPE’s Jesus, so His love grew as He walked in obedience to Jesus, 1 John 4:7
It was pointed out that often we think we love God, but sometimes we do not really Agape God. And we were given a little quiz to grade ourselves. The answers were often, sometimes and rarely. I ended up drawing tick marks to show where in the continuum I was located, for sometimes I was not often, but more than sometimes, etc.
Here is the quiz:
1. Does He (God) regularly circulate into my thoughts? (Ps 63:6)
This test was meant to locate our areas of strength and weakness in our relationship with God, not to condemn. And I suspect on one day some questions would score higher than on other days.
She then said that since she was 20, Beth has prayed a simple prayer that goes something like this: “Make me have a heart that loves you with all my heart. God, I can’t make my feet move, but I am willing for you to drag me, nothing’s worth being out of the will of God.”
I so want a heart that loves God without reservation, but there are still pockets of resistance, but I pray, and I know that one day these pockets will be removed.
Have a blessed day.
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