Get your Daily Encouragement with the Jesus Minute
We’ve covered the first seven transformational action-steps Peter sets forth in the first chapter of his second letter:
TRUST IN JESUS-Faith!
TAKE A STAND TO ACT LIKE IT-Virtue!
GRASP JESUS AS YOUR OWN-Knowledge!
EXERCISE INNER STRENGTH-Self-control!
REFLECT GOD IN YOUR LIFESTYLE-Godliness!
COMMIT TO A FEW LOVING FRIENDS-Brotherly love!
We come now to the 8th and final action-step: AGAPE LOVE. Remember, the first action-step here from Peter is faith. This is not faith as a noun, but faith as a verb-a proactive, personal trust. I love it that Peter completes his list of action-steps with another proactive, quality-agape love. Agape love is the highest of all expressions of love. It’s interesting to note that this word just wasn’t used much in the 1st Century culture; it was pretty rare. However, it became an extremely common word in the early Jesus community. Early writers of the New Testament appropriated an uncommon word for love and used it to convey a very special kind of love-a love, which gives without thought of what it will get back. It’s completely unconditional!
Agape love is natural for God and a love that we humans strive to emulate-to observe what Jesus commanded us and to do our best to love like Jesus.
Jesus teaches us to love in this way: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)
How can those who claim to be believers or followers of Jesus seem to be in a spiritual coma? It’s like when the Indians were discussing their problems with the white man. One asked, “What went wrong?” Another answered, “Apparently, when we smoked the peace pipe, somebody didn’t inhale!”
Yes, it’s easy to be an active member of your faith-based world without personally inhaling. I did this for years! It’s my opinion, most are brought up to view their faith and love as part of their belief systems. But faith and love are boring nouns, not proactive verbs. Faith must move into personal trust; love must move into being a lover.
The 8 action steps lead us right back to our original mission-to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself. The final action step is the ultimate action step to BE A LOVER. This is Jesus’ answer to the question: “What is the greatest commandment?” This is the ultimate action step that Jesus embodies and empowers us to join the revolution of love!