Fear? Goodness, no! {part 2: LOVE}

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by Heather Spring

If you missed {part 1: POWER}, obviously it’s not too late to catch up. Close your eyes and tap your shoes together three times and say, “There’s no place like part 1. There’s no place like part 1.” That should get you there… or press here.

You all remember the song that I taught you that my dad taught me?

Let’s sing together:

“For God has not given us the spirit of FEAR (scary face here!), but of

POWER, AND LOVE, AND A SOUND SOUND MIND!”

2 Timothy 1:7

I’m going to attempt to tackle the second gift He’s given… LOVE!

You’ve heard that there are three different love types: Eros love (known as the physical, sensual love between a husband and wife—bow chicka bow wow, as I like to call it), Phileo love (based on friendship between two people), and Agape love (unconditional, sacrificial love).

In 2 Timothy 1:7, the “love” that’s been “given” to us is agape love… the highest and ultimate form of love!

I have to chuckle when I hear Agape love referred to as brotherly love. Listen, I am raising two brothers and you’ve got to know, I’ve got story after story on this one. I’ve seen them peg one another in the head with matchbox cars only to have the injured scold me for scolding the offender. Between all the wedgies and sword-fights-gone-too-far, I see a protective, steadfast, ever-growing love they display for one another.

But agape love is so much more than that.

Agape arrived on this earth and walked around in sandals. You could touch Agape, smell Agape, and listen to Agape. Agape was so unique and refreshing, that droves of people would follow Him around taking in this otherness. And after living perfectly, and always loving just right, Agape laid down His life. “Oh, Agape, how much you truly love us!”

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

And guess what? He has given those that believe in Him this same LOVE… Agape planted within our very hearts. Consider it a wedding gift! What extravagance! It’s one thing for Him to be that incredible and just downright “other,” but WE are given this same spirit of love? Unfortunately, it’s a gift we squander away or are satisfied to “love” when it benefits us. We love with me at the center.  That’s not agape love.

You see, real agape love is a love that’s a without-strings-attached-or-hidden-agenda kind of love. It is selfless and it is a choice. It is “the noblest kind of devotion, the love of the will (intentional, a conscious choice) and not motivated by superficial appearance, emotional attraction, or sentimental relationship.”

It is a decisive love.

As a teen, I remember my dad telling me that every day he chose to love my mom. I was floored! I was horrified! It made me angry! To be honest, I felt sorry for my mom. I thought, “You have to CHOOSE to LOVE her? What kind of marriage is that? Well, I don’t want one of those!”

Oh… but I’ve since then eaten those words (with a little salt and ketchup) because that’s the kind of marriage that works, that thrives, that lasts, that grows, that satisfies, and that mirrors Jesus. I’m not saying that marriage doesn’t consist of Eros (a little Marvin Gaye on repeat) and Phileo (“I’m giddy that you love music as much as I do!” Insert wild clapping!). I’m just saying most days we’ve got to both land on this agape, decisive and sacrificial love, or we’ll be left frustrated and selfishly pining for something or someone else to fill our love reservoir.

But this CHOICE is not just for the husband and wife. It is for EVERY SINGLE RELATIONSHIP THAT WE HAVE. No one is excluded here. Agape is even for your worst enemy… ouch, that stings a bit! It is not in us to naturally agape love another. We’re selfish by nature. But God says, “I have given you power, (Agape) LOVE, and a sound mind.” If you CHOOSE to live out this agape love, you will be:

Agape-ing when you don’t “feel” like it.
Agape-ing when it costs you everything and promises nothing.
Agape-ing those that annoy you.
Agape-ing those that you are tempted to look down on.
Agape-ing people that have wounded you.
Agape-ing people, that if you were to be honest, you just don’t like.
(Oh, now I need to stop and pray for a bit… convicted!)

So, this Scripture says, “He hasn’t given us the spirit of fear… but of love.”

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18)

Let me tell you how fear comes in and steals you from loving in this God-like manner.

When you struggle with comparing yourself to others, you won’t be able to really love them. You won’t. (Any Bookface-ers or Interestingpinners struggling in this area?) If comparison has got your number, you’ll be too busy feeding thoughts of jealousy and self-doubt to agape others. You will struggle with confidence when you are full of jealousy, envy, and suspicion. You will struggle with freedom in Christ when you continue playing the victim card. And all of this stems from fear! When you are fearful, you live out of self-preservation mode, everything in you fighting for what satisfies you, what makes you “happy” and “whole.” When you are fear-driven, you’ll be defensive and will come against whoever seemingly threatens your happiness… even God. So it’s easier to look at others as competition instead of seeing the Jesus in them. And you can’t love when you view others as competition.

Even within the church walls, we can find ourselves competing with one another, tearing one another down because we are feeling threatened by others’ giftings, roles, or “blessings.” Jealousy robs us from joining together as one body to fulfill the plans of God.  Can we stop, for one second, and see the unique qualities of God Himself in the eyes, hands, feet, laughter, and presence of the ones on our right and left? They are not our competition, rather, they are God-made masterpieces that we are called to love… agape style. Ladies, we can be the worst at falling into this trap! Sister in Christ, may I make a plea to you: we are on the same team! Start encouraging, sharpening, and speaking truth into one another, fostering unity! (Ok, stepping off my soapbox now.)

You want power, freedom, and peace?

1. Pray against the spirit of fear that so easily comes to rob you, and love decisively, CHOOSING to use the very gift of love that has been embedded in your heart. You don’t have to be insecure. You don’t have to be jealous. You don’t have to compare. You don’t have to live off the fumes of half-hearted-me-centered-love; you’ve got the gas! Now rev up that engine and agape the way Christ has fueled your sweet, little heart to do so.

2. Don’t let your eyes leave the cross. I’m serious. Pop a squat and don’t get up. Do you get this love that was demonstrated on the cross… for you… for others? May we see every relationship from our past, our present, and our future, through the cross, and then we’ll be asking:  How can we not love?

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

•••

Get ready for {part 3: A SOUND MIND}! I’ll post this conclusion to our series THURSDAY (5/16)! Maybe all this has been just for me. If so, I’m good with that. But I do hope and pray it’s been an encouragement to you as well. Feel free to share this with anyone that may be encouraged by this post! By the way, I’m pumped about the giveaway… EEK! I love surprises!

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2 thoughts on “Fear? Goodness, no! {part 2: LOVE}

  1. Pingback: Fear? Goodness, no! {part 3: A SOUND MIND} & GIVEAWAY | Dancing On My Ashes

  2. Pingback: Give it away. Give it away. Give it away, now! The Results! | Dancing On My Ashes

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