“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)
When my children, wife, and I come together for family prayer and choose our own topics, one that seems to come up consistently is “God, help me to not be so selfish. Help me to love others as myself.”
You may have heard the term “agape” love before. It is the type of love not only modeled by Christ through His sacrifice on the cross for us, but it’s the same love that He calls us to love others with. It’s the love that puts other’s well-being before our own. It’s the love that’s not merely represented by words or emotion, but by sacrificial action. It’s the love that is to be shown to both friend and foe alike.
Since God Himself is the very essence of love (1 John 4:8), it’s no wonder that Paul’s prayer to the church in Philippi (and to all of us) is that we would grow in our agape love; a love that is pure, blameless, righteous, and brings glory to God. But how is it possible to grow in such love when even young children know and confess that we are selfish by nature?
The knowledge, discernment, and understanding of such a love can only be revealed through a personal relationship with Jesus; and can only be realized in our lives through the study of His Word and fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
If you truly desire to grow in agape love, then you must first turn to the very essence of love, and allow Him to change your heart. As His love permeates your life, you will see your own love abound more and more.