"If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love."
~1 Corinthians 13:3, The Message
The path to understanding agape love is a steep climb, and this verse challenges my previous notions about it. I always pictured agape to be the selfless, active part of loving others. But here, it's talking about how I can give everything I own to the poor and still be lacking in it. Wow...my words, my beliefs, and even my actions can shout love, yet still be devoid of it. Again, I have to go back to what God's word seems to be saying about agape love. God IS agape love. So, if I do anything that looks loving, but do it in my own strength, excluding God in my actions, I am bankrupt. I've gotten nowhere.
How can this be? Could it be that God knows if I achieve this level of love on my own, I won't see my need for Him? If we as humans can love one another perfectly, we have no need for God's love, or for God Himself, for that matter. The most loving thing God can do is to create us with a need for Him. This is almost too much for me to grasp!
Is it possible to love someone deeply without knowing God? Absolutely. Can I experience and be a channel of agape love without God? I don't think so ~ they are one and the same.
I have been walking with God for over twenty-five years, but I still know so little about His agape love for us. In all honesty, I think I have only begun to scratch the surface. I want to grab hold of this mysterious treasure. I can only imagine the rippling effect it will have if I do. It's time to take another step on my journey down AGAPE's path.
"You formed us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in You."
"For finally, we are as we love. It is love that measures our stature."
~William Sloane Coffin