What Does Agape Love Look Like?

Until I received God’s love through Jesus Christ, the word “love” was understood by me to be a feeling that I received from my mom, dad, and other family members when they were pleased by my behavior. When I behaved according to their expectations, I received smiles and hugs. When I did not met those standards, love was withheld.

“Loving the unlovable” was beyond my understanding. I felt that God would only love me if I behaved according to the ten commandments. And of course, I failed with most of those….so therefore, I concluded I’m unlovable!

But God reaches down to us living in this sinful world and loves us despite our sinful behavior. He does the impossible and forgives me even when I’m unloving towards others. And He forgives you too.

There is a Greek word for love called agape. God reveals who He is through this type of love.

Recently I saw a commercial where agape love was visually shown by a caregiver bathing a person who can no longer bathe themselves. This image seemed appropriate because God cleanses us from our sin. We can not cleanse ourselves from our sin, but are covered by Jesus’ righteousness.

God revealed His love to us through His act of sending His son, Jesus Christ, to earth to redeem us. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters (1 John 3:16).” That my friends is agape love.

Agape love is the type of love that Jesus was talking about when he says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another (John 13: 34 – 35).”

How do we know when someone loves us with agape love?

People who love you with agape, respect you. They care for you. They see you as you really are and accept you for the unique individual God created you to be. You don’t have to wear the right type of shoes, clothes, or even make up when you hang out with them.

They encourage you to develop the skills and talents God has gifted you. They desire to know more about your thoughts, desires, and dreams.

Agape love is not a person using your body, skills, or talents for their own benefit.

When people love you with agape love, they physically care for you. They are concerned for your health and well being. They will even sacrifice their own desires in order to do something you find interesting.

When someone loves you with agape love, they respond to you because God has placed love in their heart for you. It’s not an obligation, they actually desire to be with you.

They care for your spiritual needs and will pray for you and with you out loud. This is one of the most intimate caring gifts that a person can bestow upon you.

Agape love is protective not overbearing, but looking out for your best interest.

While I haven’t always been able to love others with agape love, I’ve deeply desired it especially on Valentine’s Day. The bible’s description of love is below:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no account of wrongs. Love takes no pleasure in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 7).”

Before I accepted Jesus this is how I thought about the above passage:

I desire this type of agape love, but I’m not very patient. I’m kind to people who are kind to me. I try not to envy, but secretly envy other’s talents and success. Maybe I don’t boast but I’m too proud to allow people to treat me poorly. I don’t think my language is rude, Everyone talks like that! And I definitely look out for number 1. If I don’t, who will? I’m easily angered and still struggle with the long list of wrongs against me. I rejoice in truth when it doesn’t convict me.

I do not believe in love that bears all things. I actually think marriage won’t last a life time, but will be fun while it lasts. I believe the lies people say about me. I do not hope for the best, but expect the worst. And I definitely refuse to endure any toxic people in my life except maybe that one man who I don’t want to live without.

After accepting Jesus to be my Savior, God transformed my thoughts:

I only understand God’s love through Jesus. When I made the decision to receive Jesus’ unearned love, I began a journey of learning to love Him in return. Not only does He teach me to love Him and His Father, He always teaches me how to love others.

This Valentine’s Day choose to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind (Matthew 22:37).

Why? Because God loves us (1 John 4:10).

If you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, God pours out His love in our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5: 5). Before I accepted Jesus, I loved my mom with an imperfect love. If I didn’t like the way she treated me, I didn’t love her in return.

But the Holy Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness in our lives (Galatians 5:22). With God’s divine love, he teaches us how to love Him in return.

How can we show our love for Jesus?

John 14: 23 – 24 tells us that Jesus replied to this question, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.”

Remember this? “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another (John 13: 34 – 35).”

What does “As I have loved you” mean to you?

To me it means forgiveness. The LORD loved me even before I loved Him in return. When I betrayed His trust, He forgave me. He cleansed me and clothed me with honor.

I know that Jesus has called me to forgive others but….

What if we struggle to show love to “that” person?

With the help of the Holy Spirit we can love others with brotherly and sisterly affection choosing to honor them (Romans 12:10). No matter how someone treats us, our reaction can be respectful and caring.

We are responsible to pray for the people God has placed in our lives. Even when we need to correct them, we need to use words that express loving kindness. And the loving thing is to point them to the right path. God didn’t leave us in our sinful condition, but sent Jesus. We can share the news about Jesus and leave the rest to the Holy Spirit.

Loving others is not easy, but it can be learned. I know because God has given me lots of unlovable students, parents, and even family members to help me learn.

The first thing I do when I’m failing to love people in the way God and Jesus desires is to run to Him. Praying for the person you are struggling to show love to will reveal a deeper love for them.

Will you Pray with Me?

Heavenly Father, you are pure divine love. Thank you for sending your Son to us so that we can believe in Him and have everlasting life. Please forgive us when we do not love others with agape love. Holy Spirit place a real and warm affection in us for others as brothers and sisters. Help us to love the unlovable people in our lives. May our love show honor and respect. Abide in us and perfect your love in us. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.

Is there someone who you need to show a pure divine love towards?

If so, please allow me to send you the Valentine’s Day card that I created for you. You may send it to your friends and loved ones. Especially anyone who has been difficult to love lately! I just need your email, so that I know where to send it.


Published by April Jollie

Teacher + Writer = Lessons of Hope for Tough Days, writer to deepen understanding of God's Word and to stay connected to Jesus.

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