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Agape is the God-kind of love. It sees people as being valuable and precious. The quality of this love is determined by the character of the one who loves, not the one who is being loved.

That's why God can love us—because His love is determined by His character, not ours.

In First John 4:10 we see a prime example of this: "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins."

Valuable and Precious
God looked at us in our sins and saw us as valuable and precious—worth enough to send His own Son to die for us. No matter what we have done or will do, He still sees us as that way. He loves us.

So agape is love that comes from realizing and understanding the value and preciousness of a person. That's why it is called the God-kind of love.

You may ask, "How can I see someone I don't even know as valuable and precious?" You can't, naturally speaking. You choose to see that person as God sees him.

So if God says someone is valuable and precious, then that's the way it is.

When you realize that, it makes your love walk a whole lot easier, because most of us decide which people we're going to love based on whether or not they love us. But the God-kind of love tells us to love regardless of how people act toward us.

That means we don't have to take things personally.

As we develop God's character in our lives, it enables us to love people no matter what they do to us. We love them because of His character that's on the inside of us.

Agape Takes Time
Marriages without agape will most assuredly end up in disaster. Couples should always be friends, but you can only build a home on agape. Agape takes time, work, and patience. (And there is a much better chance of developing it before you get married than after you get married!)

Sometimes you can think you're operating in agape when you're really not, especially if you've been married awhile. For example, in marriage counseling, a wife will sometimes say that she feels as if her husband is putting her down.

Then her spouse will say, "I don't make her feel like that." Immediately, he is on the defensive. Therefore, he isn't acting out of real love (1 Cor. 13:5).

You see, in a marriage relationship, it doesn't matter how you feel. It matters how the other person feels. In the above-mentioned hypothetical case, it is the husband's responsibility to find out why his wife feels as if he's putting her down and then talk it out and fix the problem.

That's what it means to operate in agape love.

Agape is not automatic. It's something you have to work on. You have to work on seeing your mate as valuable and precious.

Source: Establishing Godly Relationships Through Marriage And Family by Debra Butler
Excerpt permission granted by Word Of Faith Publishing

Author Biography

Deborah Butler
Web site: Word of Faith International Christian Center
 
Pastor Deborah L. Butler serves in ministry with her husband, Bishop Keith A. Butler at Word of Faith International Christian Center in Southfield, MI. She is a licensed and ordained minister of the Gospel.
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