PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• I don’t usually preplan the Praise & Prayer Prompt, but for the next nine days (unless the Holy Spirit redirects me), I’m going to make an exception.
We’re going to spend some time studying the Fruits of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”
We’ll just go in order and since this is the first one, we’ll start with LOVE.
On June 15th last year, I published a blog called “#Love.”
At the time I wrote it, the hashtag “love,” had 1,085,986,510 returns on Instagram.
Today, it has 1,309,715,345.
It further demonstrates what I wrote last year—people are looking for love.
So much so that in the last 328 days since “#Love” was published, the hashtag’s popularity has grown by over 223 million and is used an average 682,100 times per day on Instagram.
But we can hardly assume that the use of #Love truly means love.
Our use of the word can take many meanings.
A lot of words can.
For example, anthropologist Frank Boas traveled through northern Canada in the 1880s and concluded that the Eskimos had over 50 words to define what we call “snow.”
Can you imagine if we did that with love?
After all, the love we have for our husbands/wives is different from the love we feel for parents, children, sisters/brothers, aunts/uncles, and friends.
It’s different from the love we feel for our pets.
It’s different from the love we have for our houses, jobs, favorite dress, and favorite brand of ice cream.
What if we looked at love the way the Greeks did.
I’m no linguist nor am I a theologian so I’m not even going to try explain it.
The following is an excerpt (pages 327-328) from “Holman Treasury of Key Bible Words: 200 Greek and 200 Hebrew Words Explained and Defined,” which was written by Eugene Carpenter and Philip Comfort.
“Greeks had four words to express different kinds of ‘love’: (1) eraō for ‘sexual passion,’ a word not found in the New Testament; (2) storgeō for ‘family devotion,’ a word used in a negative sense in 2 Timothy 3:3 as ‘unloving’; (3) phileō for ‘friendship,’ a word appearing frequently in the New Testament; and (4) agapaō for ‘loving-kindness.’… In the New Testament, the word agapē took on a special meaning. It was used by the New Testament writers to designate a ‘volitional love’ as opposed to a purely emotional love, a ‘self-sacrificial love,’ and a ‘love naturally expressed by God,’ but not so easily by men and women. It is a word that speaks of compassion, regard, kindness, and true love. It is an unselfish love that transcends natural affinities. In short, it is a love that we don’t naturally have. It is divine.”
And that, my friends—Agapē—is the fruit of the spirit that the Holy Spirit wants to teach us.
And as the authors said, it’s not a love we do well.
It’s very unnatural.
But what I love about it (pun intended!) is that it’s not impossible!
Anyone who surrenders his or her will to God’s, and allows the Holy Spirit to guide and direct, can offer this rarest of love—agapē—to others.
We can love without “what’s in it for me?!”
We can love with someone else’s best interests above our own!
We can love with pure compassion and forgiveness and share heart-felt kindness.
Can you imagine the kind of love our world would see if we as Christians embraced the agapē love as it’s described?
Because I am a nerd, I looked up the hashtag #agapelove.
As of this morning, it has 73,135 posts correlated to it on Instagram.
Less than 1%.
Today, as you pray, first give praises to our Heavenly Father for being the very definition of agapē love!
Thank Jesus for showing agapē love for us when He died on the cross!
And thank the Holy Spirit for being willing to share agapē love with us, and teach us how to give it to others.