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These are very familiar verses - they never fail to challenge, encourage, and take my breath away.
This agape love is a decision of my will. It is not a warm fuzzy affection. It is a sacrificial love which will lay down self-interest for another. It is a love that serves with loyalty. It is a choice to show favor and goodwill. It always seeks the good of the loved. This is the kind of love God has for me. It's the kind of love I have for Him. It is the kind of love I'm to have for my neighbors. (Side note - this is the love we have for enemies...not philieo - which is warm and fuzzy affectionate, friendship feelings).
Who are my neighbors? I've heard so many times that this goes far beyond our neighborhoods. I believe it does. However, I believe we've lost impact in our society because we are NOT loving our physical neighbors as Jesus commanded us to do.
The most important thing I can do in my life is apply these verses. They form the basis of my life mission statement.
Do I love God with ALL my heart (center of my emotions and intellect)? Do I love God with ALL my soul? Do I love God ALL my mind? Do I love God with ALL my strength? At different times I find I need to shore up areas which are lacking. To be well-rounded in our love of God we will strive to love Him with ALL.
Is there anything dividing my affection for God and the things of God?
Is there anything distracting me? Causing anxiety? Is my soul at peace?
Do I worship God with my intellect? Am I becoming lazy or apathetic in my approach to God and the things of God?
Am I giving my strength to so many things that I have no time to love God with all my strength? Are my energies focused where God would call me to focus?
Do I love my neighbor? Those with which I worship, attend Bible study, "meet" in Walmart, live next door?
It takes courage to love this fully.
Living all of life before the face of God...