How to Deepen Your Love Walk

Love is, above all, the gift of oneself. ~Jean Anouilh

Love. There is no single word in the English language that is more used or less understood. We use it to describe our feelings for just about everything. For example, I can say “I love …”

  •  you
  •  my car
  • Mexican food
  • sleeping late
  • my family
  • hot tea
  • sunshine
  •  God

I really don’t put God at the end of my ‘love list’. It’s just an example of how we often live our lives. We ‘love’ whatever pleases us at any given moment. But if that person or thing does something to irritate, we withdraw our love, compassion, mercy and forgiveness. (Tell me you never got ‘mad’ at your car or computer?)

All those expressions of emotion are the same word in our English language … all with different levels of meaning and application. So what is love, really? Can we know for sure that we are walking in love, as God commanded? Let’s explore the different levels of love.

Love 101 – Here we find the word used as an impersonal expression toward an inanimate object – our hobbies, surroundings, and possessions. “I LOVE my living room!” At this level, there is no interaction. Feelings have a sense of commitment or value, but not relationship. It can be defined as a strong interest or liking. “I really like my living room.” We surround ourselves with objects we love, and God is pleased that we do. He created all the beauty in the world and wants us to enjoy it. However, He does not want us to lavish our affection on things.

Love 201 – This level is governed by our physical senses. It includes emotion, action, pleasure, passion and romance. It can also be skewed by lust and craving. Known as Eros to the Greeks, it has little depth or commitment. Eros is shallow and selfish, seeking pleasure without responsibility or reciprocity. We get in trouble with this level by assuming that our feelings equal love and commitment. But the commitment only lasts as long as our emotions are being fed. Eros love is always insecure, seeking reassurance. Deep down, we know we are not really committed and wonder if the other person is. Remember your teen years?

Love 301 – Feelings deepen with friendship, affection and appreciation. Philos is more than just physical appreciation or delight. It involves mental commitment. We accept that relationships at this level require give-and-take; however, if it is not supported by positive feelings, it wanes. The problem with this level is that is it still governed by our selfish human nature.

When challenges arise – and they always do – it’s easier to leave the relationship than work through it. We rationalize that ‘they’ are the problem; that if ‘they’ would just change, everything would be alright. We are unwilling to look at our part of the issue, unwilling to change our own attitudes and actions.

Love 401Agapé.  The God kind of love is spiritual, unwavering and unselfish. It is the ultimate expression of giving with no expectation of response. Agapé is love by faith. It is how we were created and how God wants us to be. Agapé is decision-based, not emotion-based. We choose to act in love whether we feel like it your not.

Agapé is the PhD of love. The Bible uses the word ‘love’ to demonstrate God’s compassion toward us, and how we should respond to others. Agapé love is explained thoroughly in I Corinthians 13:1-8. The Amplified Bible adds clarity to each element of Agapé.

God’s Agapé is The Blessing, our covenant with God. He said we would BE Blessed to BE a Blessing. We were created by Love to be the object of His love and blessing. We receive His Agapé love so that we can then give that love to others. Only if you accept the incontrovertible fact that God loves you will you have the faith and strength to walk in His Agapé love.

The Bible was given to us for instruction and correction, to provide examples for us so that we may be complete and entire, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Love, Agapé love, is God’s best for us because it leads us into His peace, joy, blessing, abundance and contentment.

  1. Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (Jude 1:21) Keep yourself. We do this. When tempted to lash out or nurse emotional wounds, remember God’s love and mercy. We are created in His image, so we also should give grace and mercy – no exceptions! To live an Agapé life, you must do what is right because it’s right – regardless of how you feel.
  2. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments. This is the commandment, that, as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it. (2 John 1:6) Remember the man who came to Jesus and asked Him how to receive eternal life? He told Jesus, “I have kept all the commandments my whole life.” Yet when Jesus asked him to give up his things, he went away sad because he had great possessions (Mark 10:22). He loved his ‘stuff’ more than God.
  3. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. (I John 5:3) In other words, love is easy if you trust God, not people, to meet your needs. The more you practice Agapé, love without expectation of return, the easier it gets.
  4. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: (I Peter 3:10) An evil tongue speaks things contrary to God’s Word. Guile is deceit, deception. It manipulates in an effort to get its own way. We all know people who do it, and if we’re honest with ourselves, we have done it, too.

You know from experience that grief, anger, jealousy – all negative emotions – only prolong misery. God does not want you to live life like that. Love is the answer to every problem, every situation. Doing what is right (love) because it’s right will always give you victory. Why? Because Love never fails.

The Ten Commandments were given by Love, Father God. They were for Israel’s protection, provision and support, to keep them always in the Blessing flow. As New Testament believers, we have only one commandment, love. Don’t let anything block the Blessing, the Love of God flowing through you to bless the world.

First John is known as the Love Chapter (in addition to I Corinthians 13). For examples of how to walk in Love, read and meditate on John’s writings. Become ever-conscious of Agapé and diligently block (take captive, the Bible says in 2 Cor. 10:5) all those thoughts and feelings that are contrary to Agapé Love.

Have you ever noticed that when you buy a different car, suddenly there are hundreds of them on the road – just like yours? You became aware of them. Love is the same. As you focus on it, you will begin to see it all around you. You’ll be drawn to it, and will draw it toward you. Soon, you’ll be walking in love, living in joy, and surrounded by peace. Just keep working on your Agapé PhD!

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