A Life of Love: Pass the Agape Test
by David Chadwick For the past two weeks we have looked at how to live a life of faith and hope. This week, we’re going to look at developing a life of love. In 1 Corinthians 13:13, Paul wrote that it's important to have faith and hope “but the greatest of these is love.” In fact, Paul makes an impressive list of the many attributes believers can attain, but goes on to say that without love, it's all just noise with nothing to be gained. Let’s look at the biblical definition of love. Agape love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Memorize these descriptions of real Christian love. Mirror your life against these verses. I like to call this “the agape test.” This is a test that followers of Jesus should take regularly to see if they are living as Jesus intended us to live. How are you doing at “the agape test?” Be honest. Is patience a normal expression in frustrating moments? Are you choosing to not get irritable when something goes wrong? Do you rejoice when great things happen? Are you selfless, not insisting on your own way? In your marriage? All relationships? And if you come up short? Remember 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” We don’t have to do this in our own strength. 1 John 4:19 goes on to remind us that “we love because he (God) first loved us.” After taking an honest look at your life against the biblical standard of love, and remembering God’s immeasurable love for you, decide today: I will be more patient. Kind. Not jealous. Not selfish or rude. I won’t store up the memory of past wrongs. And remember: Love is a choice. Not based on feelings nor circumstances. It’s to be practiced regularly. Daily. Agape love is the most powerful force in the universe. It’s a verb, something that needs to be done. Let’s abide in the Father’s perfect love. And see if the world around us doesn’t change.