What a great time of year! Families out picnicking, at the parks or the lake, on vacation, camping or just out enjoying their yard. Spending time in the sun or that little fire out back with our good friends, chocolate, marshmallow, and graham cracker. My family enjoys this time of year taking in the parades, the occasional food truck, grill outs with others and even a firework show or two. Now, one amazing aspect of all this is seeing thousands of families do the very thing we were doing. For this specific holiday season, I feel even more close to all those people enjoying the same freedoms my family are enjoying. Why, because it looks familiar and is comfortable. For this brief time, a reflection of something so familiar but from complete strangers. This morning I woke up asking myself; is this simply because of our actions and traditions? I believe the bigger answer to be because of a family love from our Father.
Agape in the New Testament refers to the covenant love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God; the term necessarily extends to the love of one’s fellow man (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011).
Agape love uses insight into feelings to deepen relationships in love. “It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” (I Corinthians 13:5). Agape love is a love grown in us as we strive to be more like Jesus and His unconditional love. It is the only love that can be given away freely without the wanting of a return. “Consider the needs of others as more important than yourself.” (Phil. 2:4).
Teaching Agape love is teaching the God of the Bible and Christ of redemption. Showing Storge love, a family type of love, here on earth is extending God’s Agape love for all to see. If done properly and with intent the effect would be one of true openhearted discipleship taking place; people growing together through togetherness, intimately. It also is education and implementation of accepting who someone really is, so the Gospel may take hold. Yes, this takes courage, patience, and love. But as a family we can encourage and share in that commitment. Churches are sometimes intimidating and so we must go out and bring people to the Lord. We must go where the people are. Living on mission daily needs to be one of the utmost important positions the Lord’s family should have… growing, encouraging, teaching, and comforting the Family of God.
I encourage you this summer to take that next step. To have an active role in showing this world His family love. Why, because they are family. To be present in your community, in your neighborhood, and on your block. To be family with your next-door neighbor or those just down the street. To be committed on living outwardly and actively this amazing love that you personally have felt. We were called for this.
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
More people need to see and feel a family type of love. As they grow with interest of a true family and in family love, they will hear more of the Gospel resulting in their salvation. This will lay the foundation for generations of God’s people to go out into the world and serve.
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5:13
The effect would grant the ability to live on Mission daily, making room for all and improving our daily life through Storge love. “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10). Storge love provides security and safety physically and emotionally. The family or community is for fostering love. It was put on our hearts by God. What action can we take to educate the whole world about Storge love? The action is that of living out Love “on mission” every day by taking it out to the world… hospitality through fellowship, accepting someone for who they are so God can lead them to who they were meant to be, discipling and encouraging each other, and serving our community with hearts and arms wide open.
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8