During this Christmas week, let’s turn our eyes to the love God lavishes on us. Last week, we looked at the beauty of God’s love as expressed in the Hebrew word, Hesed. This unique term portrays the Lord’s love for us in such a gracious and powerful way in the Old Testament, yet in the New Testament (which was written in Greek) we see another descriptive word identifying God’s love.
The Greek language has several different words for love: eros which is sensual or passionate love, philia which represents brotherly love, and storge denotes a natural affection. Yet it is the term agape which expresses a strong, altruistic and sacrificial, God-type love.
The apostle Paul elaborated on agape love in his first letter to the Corinthians. Perhaps you are familiar with his description, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” What a beautiful picture of how we are loved by God!
Now we tend to throw the word love around to mean all sorts of frivolous things:
“Oh I love your new outfit!”
“I love cake-mix-flavored frozen yogurt with sprinkles on top.”
“I love the beach.”
“I love this new book!”
What we typically mean is that we really, really, really like something or feel a type of surface-level affection for it. Sometimes we equate love with how we’ve been treated by a parent or a friend or spouse. But God’s love is beyond what we see in human affection. When we examine the definition of love that Paul gave us, we see a love defined beyond this world. We can scarcely comprehend the depth of God’s love. Earthly comparisons of altruistic love leave us lacking in the understanding of the height and breadth of the love of God.
Unfathomable love! John, the disciple who called himself “the beloved one,” wanted Christ’s followers to know how wonderfully loved they are by the Father. To God’s beloved children (that’s you and me) John wrote:
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! I John 3:1
Lavished! Did you catch that word? Lavished; bestowed profusely. God is not guarded or stingy when it comes to His love for us. His love pours out in generous measure. Stop and drink this truth from John into your heart. Allow it to permeate your being. You are lavishly loved with the sincerest, most powerful love imaginable.
That’s what Christmas is all about, God lavishing His love upon us by sending His only Son Jesus into this world, so that He could offer His life for us. What great love! What an unspeakable gift! Thank you Lord for your agape love for us! We celebrate you this Christmas!
This blog is an excerpt from Unfailing Love. To learn more about this book and the $5 special this month click here.