NOBODY LOVES LIKE JESUS
In contemporary times, when a man says ‘I love you’ to a woman, he is thinking of three things:
- Her looks; men are driven by sight;
- Her performance, or the expectation of it, in bed; and
- Her cooking ability.
When a woman says ‘I love you’ to a man, she is thinking of security, provisions, liberty and devotion. In practical terms, she means:
- He excites me by what he says; women are driven by what they hear. From what he says and what I hear, he has what it takes to take care of me.
- He can be depended upon to provide for my every need. ‘He is caring.’
- He allows me to indulge in my fancies. Women resent being consciously controlled by their husbands.
People mean different things when they use the word ‘love.’ Many years ago, a man of God preached on love and submission in marital relationship and human interaction. That message puzzled me. The thrust of the sermon was that apart from Jesus Christ, nobody else loves you. Nobody is ready to die for you. Nobody is ready to diminish, be reduced or treated brutally for your sake. Everybody is seeking his own good, not the good of others, including those who are very close to the person.
As the message was going on, I wondered whether the man of God had not taken it too far. Before then, I had always felt that I loved some people to the point that I could lay down my life for them and that some people loved me so much that they would not hesitate to die for me. What an illusion!
In truth, I was not ready to die for anyone and nobody was willing to die for me. Self-love is far too strong that you do not love anybody and nobody loves you. My personal experience testifies eloquently to that fact.
An incident happened as I was waiting to board a plane that made me to begin to understand the meaning of agape, the God-kind of love. At the departure hall of the Airport, I met a classmate. She was a journalist and we were together at Word of Faith Bible Institute August programme some years back. We sat together in the aircraft. I looked out of the window and saw a cripple on rollers. He was deftly meandering among the passengers collecting money from those impressed with his acrobatic display. He looked very happy and satisfied with what he was doing.
I drew my friend’s attention to the boy and said: “This cripple is looking happy but if he dies in his present condition he will go to hell and his happiness will cease forever. Is there any possibility of reaching this boy and showing him the way to real happiness?” My friend remarked sharply: “This is love; agape love is flowing from you to the boy.” I was surprised at her comments. I did not think about what I said, It just came out of my spirit.
Later, I began to understand that agape love is not something you acquire in nature. It is not inherited by natural birth. It is not hereditary like filial love. It is not something you grow up to do like sexual relationship. It is a spiritual gift and like all spiritual gifts must be received from the Lord Jesus Christ. It is administered by the Holy Spirit as part of the redemptive package.
The story is told of a young American couple. After Bible School and marriage, the couple travelled to Indonesia as missionaries. They were led of the Holy Spirit to go to a leper colony. On arriving at the gate of the colony, they were refused entry. The couple explained their mission and pleaded to be allowed to go in and help the inmates.
The officials manning the gate agreed to let them in on one condition. They would not be allowed to get out. That was the Government policy in respect of the colony: go in and remain there forever. Husband and wife looked at each other unsure of what next to do. The man said to his wife: “The Great Commission says: ‘Go ye,’ it does not say anything about ‘coming out.’” Holding hands, husband and wife crossed the gate and sowed their lives in the leper colony. That is the God-kind of love.
What is the Bible definition of love? The word translated ‘love’ in the Bible has three meanings. There is love at the level of the body. This is erotic love. There is phileo love, which is love at the level of the soul. This kind of love is characterized by filial relationships. The spirit love is agape, the God-kind of love. It is not a natural life force. It resides in the Holy Spirit and He is the dispenser of genuine love.
Agape love is one of the nine leaves of the fruit of the Spirit. Like faith and zeal, love can be measured. It can be developed through a deep knowledge of the Dispenser, the Holy Spirit.
Love can also be compared with three kinds of flame: red flame, blue flame and white flame. Agape is like white flame. It is not visible to the eye. It is not messy. But it is extremely effective in action. The effect is very visible.
Red fire can be seen everywhere. On TV, in Schools, at corporate offices and wherever men and women gather. Red fire love says: ‘I want to lie with you.’ This is eroticism. It produces a lot of ash in the form of unwanted pregnancies, sexually-transmitted diseases, broken hearts and suicides.
Blue fire love is less noisy. It does not produce a lot of ash like red fire love. It can lead to heroic deeds. The love of parents for their children and vice versa falls into this category. Red fire and blue fire love are natural endowments. Agape, the white fire love is not in nature. It is imparted by the Holy Spirit.
How did Christ love the Church? It was in the power of the Holy Spirit. He was anointed without measure. Our Lord exhibited the basic requirements of agape love through His:
- Humility in service;
- Obedience to the will of His Father;
- Suffering beyond human endurance;
- Physical death of the meanest order; and
- Forgiveness for those who demeaned Him.
A white missionary was discovered dead in his hut in an African country. Lying beside his dead body was a Winchester rifle. In a hurriedly scribbled note he said: ‘I cannot use this rifle against the natives who are coming to kill me and take the Gospel back 100 years.’ He sacrificed his life for the sake of the Gospel. That was white fire love.
The plain truth is nobody loves you. Nobody is ready to die for you. You can say that your husband loves you. He can do anything for you. “He is prepared to die for me.” Forget it. Nobody including your husband is prepared to die for you in a physical sense.
If you die before him, he will continue with his life. The only Person who truly loves you has already demonstrated that by dying for you. His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God.
Husbands should love their wives. There is a general command to love your neighbor as yourself. But the Bible specifically commands men to love their wives. Here, to love means to die for the wife, if it becomes necessary for her well-being. Although physical death is in view, there are many ways in which a man can die for his wife. Men generally hate to die for their wives physically.
The Bible exhorts believers to submit to one another. But there is a specific command to wives to submit to their husbands. Women generally resist submission. They like to assert their personality indirectly. Every woman surreptitiously wants to control her man.
When Eve was tempted in the Garden of Eden, Adam was there. Did he caution her? If he did, why did she not obey? If he did not, why did he keep quiet?
Usually the first thing a woman withdraws from her husband whenever relationship becomes frosty is sexual intimacy. Adam knew his wife after his fall from grace to grass, not before. There is no biblical proof that Eve refused to allow Adam know her before their transgression, but it is a possibility. The Bible makes is clear that Eve was deceived but Adam was not. Adam was fully aware of the consequences of disobeying God. He was present when his wife disobeyed God on their behalf and apparently did nothing to stop her. At that point in time, he was still nursing the desire to ‘know’ his wife.
A stubborn fetus in the womb can cause the death of the woman. In a similar fashion, a stubborn wife can easily cause the untimely death of her husband. That is why God said to the woman ‘submit to your husband.’ Eve ignored the warning and died. The world would have been a haven of bliss if Eve had submitted to her husband rather than seek esoteric experience as suggested by the serpent in eating the forbidden fruit.
It is difficult for a woman to love a man who has no potential for providing her needs. A man must presume his wife to be inside of him in order to be able to love her. A man, who does not love himself, cannot love his wife. He cannot love God.
The reason God commands the man to love his wife is because the wife is inside of her husband. There is also the analogy in Ephesians chapter 5 of the relationship between Christ and His Body, the Church. Therefore, biblical love means:
- Concern for the welfare of another, typified by eternal life.
- Providing for someone all that is needed for a good life, even when it is not appreciated.
- Giving one’s life, if need be, for the benefit of another.
Biblical love has nothing to do with sensual relationship. When a woman gives herself to a man, she is saying ‘I submit to you.’ When a woman gives herself to a man for what she can get from him this is whoredom. Biblical love gives; it never seeks to get anything in return.
What a man gets from his wife is the help that is suited for his earthly assignment. It is complementa Churchry to his efforts. A wife is a gift from God that makes a man complete, properly fitted to accomplish his divine tasks. Sexual intimacy is not a reward for loving care. It is the glue that holds matrimony together. Although sex is marriage and marriage is sex, agape love can prevail in a relationship with or without it. Biblical love is sacrificial giving. A vicious woman trades with her body.
Agape love is packaged with the Hypostatic Chip transmitted at the point of new birth. If you are born again, you have it. Develop it; use it for the benefit of God’s children. If you do not have it, go for it. Without it your existence on earth is a colossal waste of time, energy and resources.
Do not say ‘I love you’ unless you are ready to die for the person you claim to love.