“[Agape is] a profound concern for another
without any desire to control that other,
to be thanked by that other,
or to enjoy the process.”
– Edward Nason West
I was revisiting the dusty journal of several years past when I came across the above quote that I had neatly scribbled on the ruled journal page. If I’m not mistaken, Elisabeth Elliot quoted that in her book The Mark of a Man, my reading at the time of the journal entry.
Go ahead, read the quote again. I know I did – again and again. And each time, I sighed. Such a tall order. When I run a quick check of my motives for “loving”, I cringe at the realization that most of them are colored by selfish agenda, albeit covert. It saddens and frustrates me that my kind of “love” is a farcry from that heavenly ideal. Many times I have groped inwardly for resources to simulate agape, but I find nothing that comes close to its lofty purity. But my frequent inability to display agape love doesn’t change the standard: God, who is Agape personified, calls me to love as He does: sans “the desire to control… to be thanked… or to enjoy the process.”
Pondering those words and reflecting on my obvious incapacity to faithfully show agape, I just couldn’t shake off this thought: Maybe the first step to genuinely dispensing agape love is to first soak in it. To keep on receiving it from the Ultimate Source, and, dare I say, be hopelessly addicted to it. Until it consumes you and you can’t hold it back from spilling over from yourself to those around you. After all, what cup has ever prevented water from overflowing from its brim after it has been filled beyond its capacity?
“We love because He first loved us.”