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GRACEVINE DEVOTIONAL
Wednesday December 28th, 2016

Ephesians 5:2 KJV
“And walk in love, AS Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour”.

To “walk” is a Bible term that describes. Love in the true sense of the Bible is NOT the fluttering feeling of butterflies in your stomach when you think of a person you have feelings for. That is merely a God - programmed feeling or emotion that should help you recognize a life partner. Unfortunately, this indicator in humans has been abused, misused and over - used in matters of sexual LUST. This is why folks find it difficult to identify a prospective spouse these days.

However, it takes more than an emotional thrill to walk in Bible (Agapé) Love. The text above indicates that true love is measured by the “sacrifice” of oneself for others. Jesus referred to it as the greatest kind of love.

John 15:13 KJV
“Greater love hath no man than THIS, that a man lay down his life for his friends”.

This was Jesus’ standard for greater love - dying for one’s friends. Yet he took it much higher to a most pristine level. - He died for people who had sought to kill Him from the day He was born till the day they succeeded and He died.

Romans 5:8, 10 KJV
“But God commendeth (DEMONSTRATED) his love toward us, in that, WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS,  Christ died for us. [10] For if, WHEN WE WERE ENEMIES, we were RECONCILED to God BY THE DEATH OF HIS SON, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life”

Jesus didn’t wait for apologies, “repentance” or regret from us, He chose to die for people who were not His friends, but very hostile enemies. He didn’t wait for us to come to Him, He came to us.

Love is not a smoochy emotion, it is a very tough decision!  “Dying for your fellow man” as set forth by Jesus does not necessarily require physical death. The Apostle Paul indicates that to die for someone physically without a Love (agapé) motive is nothing but waste. (1 Corinthians 13:3).

To die for another should not be a display or bravado, it should be love initiated, love motivated and love executed. “Dying” in this context means suspending or killing your deepest need or desire in order to give another person “life”. It is a “self - denying” action that is motivated by the highest kind of compassion for another human being. Such love is a heavy sacrifice for it denies you much needed comfort in order to offer succour to another.

This love is not limited to family & friends. The highest expression of it is when it is directed at those who hurt you the most; people who see you as an enemy. It’s easier to die for a loved one like in the case of Romeo and Juliet. In such cases, there’s the element of vested interest. However, this agapé kind of love demonstrates uninhibited and selfless kindness toward a hater.

JESUS KNEW WHAT HE MEANT WHEN HE SAID THIS….

Matthew 5:43-44 KJV
“Ye HAVE HEARD that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. [44] BUT I SAY unto you, LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, BLESS them that CURSE you, Do GOOD to them that HATE you, and PRAY for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you”

APOSTLE PAUL ECHOES IT:

Romans 12:20 KJV
“Therefore IF THINE ENEMY HUNGER, FEED HIM;  if he THIRSTS, give him drink: for IN So DOING thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head”.

Walking in Love is tough business. It is guaranteed to kill selfishness in you if you chose to submit yourself to the process. You’ll die daily as aspects of your selfish tendencies are crucified by the pains of deliberate choice to demonstrate love towards the very same people who wish you dead. In this way, you are “dying” so that they can “live” by learning what true love is from your conduct. Jesus did it and left us example to follow in His footsteps. At some level, you are already practicing it with friends and relatives but this love beckons us to the higher ground of loving even our enemies.

This is a season of Love. Love came down from the Celestial to the Terrestrial, just to convert hostile enemies and haters to much more than friends but family.

CONFESSION
The ability to walk in love was deposited in me at New Birth. I therefore make a decision to walk in love. This means loving both the lovable and the not so lovable. Love is not a feeling else it would keep changing, love is a decision, it is a walk. It is the lifestyle of the believer in Christ. I chose this day to die to self and live to and for Agapé Love. So help me God. Amen.

God bless you.
Pastor Ken Okotcha

You may read more of our devotionals at http://www.nowayobloggers.com/gracevine-devotional

I am an expression of the Divine!

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