One of the greatest needs in the lives of so many today is love. Oh, there may be plenty of things out there called love, but they are not the genuine article. What many call love is nothing more than lust and unbridled desire, which promises much but delivers pain, hurt, and disappointment instead. All of this stands in sharp contrast to genuine love, revealed by the Father through His Son; "We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" (1 John 3:16).

       The term for love is the Greek word "agape." One person has offered this definition of agape. "Agape is not born of a lover's need, nor does it have its source in the love object. Agape doesn't exist in order to get what it wants, but empties itself to give what the other needs. Its motives rise wholly from within its own nature. Agape lives in order to die to self for the blessedness of caring for another, spending for another, spending itself for the sake of the beloved."

       Love empties itself, and finds its fulfillment in giving. This is exemplified in Christ, "who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:6-7, NKJV). Christ "loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word" (Ephesians 5:25-26).

       Satan has deceived many in the world, believing that lust of the flesh is genuine love. Lust demands, and never is satisfied; love gives, and receives abundantly in return. The tragedy of it all is how abundant God's love is, how freely He offers it through Jesus, and how few ever come to know and experience it. No matter how unlovable one may become, God still loves. For those who come to Him, in Christ they can find genuine love. And for those who do, the greatest joy of love comes from living and giving in devotion to God and to others. I suppose, in a selfish age, there is no way to avoid a selfish view of love. However, having received so much from the Father, our greatest blessings come when love motivates us to give.

Robert Johnson,
Longview, TX