Agape Love: More Than a Feeling

By: Jan Lashbrook
Roses are red, violets are blue, let’s model Jesus’ love that’s sacrificial and true. CCA’s Early Childhood Director, Jan Lashbrook, turns to the book of 1 Corinthians to remind us how everything we do as Christ’s beloved should be done in love . . . not just on Valentine’s Day, but always!

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” –John 13:34

This past week leading up to Valentine’s Day, Calvary Christian Academy’s Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten faculty taught our youngest Eagles the true meaning of love and how to LEAD in LOVE. They learned that love is not based on our emotions or feelings because we can’t always trust our emotions.
The love that Jesus modeled and the love He wants us to have for each other is shown by our actions, not our feelings.
1 John 3:18 says, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with action and in truth.” Our feelings can so easily lie to us and distort the truth. The love that Jesus modeled and the love He wants us to have for each other is shown by our actions, not our feelings. Sadly, even adults sometimes have a hard time understanding unconditional agape love that Jesus wants us to model.

The best description of the actions that prove our love for each other is found in 1 Corinthians chapter 13. The apostle Paul implies that agape love has only one meaning: putting the needs of others above your own.

This chapter always brings conviction when I gauge how I’m loving others, especially those I interact with on a daily basis. It’s also a very good litmus test for all of us believers charged with modeling and teaching the love of Jesus to our kids. In verses 4-7, the apostle Paul spells out what true love should look like:

Love is patient and kind
Love doesn’t boast and isn’t proud
Love doesn’t put others down and isn’t selfish
Love isn’t easily angered and doesn’t hold grudges
Love doesn’t take any pleasure in evil, but joyfully embraces truth
Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres
Love never fails.


By Paul’s description, there is no doubt that love is all about attending to the needs of others.
. . . there is no doubt that love is all about attending to the needs of others
Chapters 12 and 14 of 1 Corinthians give us context as to why Paul wrote the “love chapter.” The Corinthian church was caught up in the improper use of spiritual gifts. Pridefully, they had begun elevating their individual gifts over their concern and care for each other, which caused division in the church. Paul was writing to correct their wrong thinking. He was reminding them that if they didn’t show love for each other, their spiritual gifts were useless — even comparing them to clanging symbols (it hurts my ears to think about that).

It’s easy to get caught up in comparing ourselves with others, which can lead to either selfish pride or an unhealthy discouragement. But 1 Corinthians 12, the chapter right before the love chapter, reminds us that we are one body with many members, and each member has an important and unique role in the body of Christ.
Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
We are ALL valuable to God and to each other, and we can’t function effectively without our other members. Even when they annoy us. Even when we’d rather nurse our grudges for a while longer. Even when they don’t live up to our self-made standards. Even when they cause us pain. Even when we’d like to shout their sins from the rooftops. God calls us to still love them—as He loved us. Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Think about what nonsense God puts up with on a daily basis. How deeply He must love us, not to have wiped out His creation by now. How can we not love others when we understand how much He loves us in spite of all our issues? As our spouses, kids, friends, relatives, and neighbors see our love in action, it just may point them to Jesus, the author of love. Nothing could be better than that!

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” –1 Peter 4:8

 

Jan Lashbrook is the Early Childhood Program Director at Calvary Christian Academy. She and her husband are “empty-nesters,” having raised three children who are all grown and married. Their youngest attended CCA for 12 years, graduating in 2012.

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