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1 JOHN 3:16 NKJ 
16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 

So many songs have been written about love. What is love? Love hurts. You've lost that loving feeling. Fooled around and fell in love.   

If you tried to figure out love from listening to our music, you could easily be confused. No one seems to know what love is, but it hurts; you can lose it or fool around and fall in it. What a mixed message.   

John referred to love in this first letter thirty-three times. This entire letter is themed around love. It would have probably helped us if we used a different word. When we use love today, it means romantic love or a strong affection. But the Greek word for love, agape, is something entirely different.   

Agape is God's willful direction toward man, His affectionate regard, goodwill, doing what is best for man regardless of man's actions. We don't earn God's love. He is love. The word and the concept embody more than I can cover in a short devotional so let me make it real simple. Love has a give to it. God's love gives. Christ gave by laying down His life for us. 

But John did not stop there. He said we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters in Christ.   


Now John is obviously not talking about dying for others. Jesus did that. Some have died as martyrs, but this is not the context in this passage. John is talking about giving to our family in Christ. Laying down our interests to put the interests of others before us. Easy? No, but we do have the capacity.   

This love takes on so many forms. From not saying words that would prove your point but embarrass someone else. To sharing your money with someone in need or taking time with a hurting brother or sister in Christ. We have opportunities to give every day, and as we grow in Christ, we will grow in this love, the love that gives.   

If you think this kind of agape love is a real losing proposition, you are not seeing it from God's perspective. The benefits are huge. One of those benefits is that walking in this God kind of love gives us confidence with God. Make sure you read the end of chapter three. There is a promise here so big you'll find yourself having to read it several times. And it's directly tied into the giving agape God kind of love. This love is much more than the subject of songs. And we'll be singing about this kind of love for eternity.