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Agape Love by Carole Thomas
September 12, 2014

Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12: 31)

To paraphrase Maya Angelou, "Everyone is a child of God but they don't all know that they belong to Him. We must love all of His children out of respect for God so we can glorify His name". 

What a concept! 

I have found it quite challenging to show love or respect to those who aren't always so nice. I often take their actions personally, feeling hurt or upset with them. I allow my emotions rule my behaviour, but we are called to love as God does: Agape love.  Everyone knows how to love the ones that love us back.  It is easy to express the truth about God's love, but it becomes challenging to put it into practice in certain situations.  For instance, how do I love my neighbour in the workplace? Recently, I was feeling discouraged at my work and I wanted a way out.

Each year, we have the opportunity to request a transfer when there are openings elsewhere, so I asked God to help me make a sound decision if there was an opportunity to leave.  I felt crushed when I only saw closed doors and I quickly realized that in the depth of my heart, I was asking God to help me run away; I was hoping that He would lead me in my run. I wanted Him to support me in my plan.

Through my journey of acceptance, I  came to understand that I was personifying Jonah in that God knew where I should be but I wanted nothing to do with His plan. I wasted all my energy in wanting to be somewhere else.  I didn't run away physically like Jonah did, but mentally and emotionally, there was one constant theme going through my mind "I can't wait to be out of here; I need a fresh start; I can't be here anymore; I need to work with other people” etc.  I wasted so much energy staying in that frame of mind. My theme was centred on "I" and not on serving God.

I didn't want to be where God had called me to be and I forgot about God's compassion towards those who are lost; something Jonah knew about but couldn't accept.

"...I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love..." (Jonah 4:2)

Maybe I will get to work elsewhere some day, but by focusing my mind on what is above, I will serve God where He has appointed me. I will learn to be content in my circumstances. When the apostles were in prison, they didn't stop their ministry; they continued to serve God.  My servitude cannot be conditional on what I see fit to best suit me nor can it be conditional upon my whims in life.  I am called to love my neighbour as myself.  This is beyond by natural capability and I can only exercise this kind of love through Christ who lives in me. Agape love is not a product of emotions; it is a gift from God and I believe that the Holy Spirit can help us extend that love to others if we allow it. 

I wanted to restore the peace in my heart and I thought the only way to do that was to leave or run away. God showed me that I didn't need a way out but I needed a way in.  In God's infinite wisdom, the way in is through love, his Agape love. He knows what is best for my spiritual journey to mature my faith and He will protect that and he also knows what's best for His lost sheep. I was amongst them once and I came to the Lord because of what I witnessed in the work place. God had put Christians in my path and they were calm, at peace, loving and their moods would not waiver.  I gravitated towards them, wondering what they had inside their hearts that made them so "nice" and so content. 

The Bible offers us a means to keep our peace and to extend Christ's love to others. We have to be embedded in His Word so we can renew our minds and not be trapped in the worldly ways. Loving my neighbours in my world means to love my co-workers in the midst of resistance to the common good. I am called to shift my thinking constantly and to live in Christ and under Him. My purpose in life is to obey and follow God's plan in any way He intends.

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2)

Our purpose is to bring the good news to everyone and I should use the venue in which God has put me in to serve Him. I can't forget that while I'm at work, I still have a greater purpose or mission and that is to realize that people all around me are in danger of perishing in eternal condemnation. If I think of it this way, I will keep my eyes on God and the treasures in heaven to fulfill his will and not be sombre about  being in a place that I don't want to be. Paul was in jail and he still found a way to learn contentment.

Jesus had a selfless love for all of us while we were still sinners, to the point where He gave His life to save anyone who would come to Him.  He's not asking me to give up my life for anyone, but He is asking me to renew my mind continually that I may exercise the kind of love where I don't expect anything in return. 

God has created all of us in His image. We all fall short so will I judge His masterpiece in others or will I try to lead them to their Creator like someone did  for me? 

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."  (John 3:16)

Carole Thomas

Father, we are so grateful that you know the plans you have for us, plans that were written in your book before we were even born.  Help us Lord to yield to your way, for they are good!  We ask Father that you would take hold of us when we want to run and plant us firmly in the centre of your will.  At the simulcast, give us eyes to see your lost and wandering sheep, and your love to draw them to you. May they wonder what is different about us and seek you.  We ask Father, for all who don't know you to be saved.  In the mighty name of Jesus, amen..

 

Filed under: Simulcast Blogs

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