“And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”
— Colossians 3:14
Can you imagine loving with such a pure love that you expect nothing back in return and it’s impossible for you to feel hurt or let down by the response of the recipients of your love? You don’t love them for the purpose of getting something in return; you shower them with love simply because you love them. That love is entirely possible, because it’s God’s agape love, and He has shed His love abroad in your heart by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). This is why I call agape a high-level love. It is a love that has no strings attached, a love that loves simply and purely — the God-kind of love.
In today’s Sparkling Gem, we are going to look at this God-kind of love through Paul’s words in Colossians 3:14, where he commanded us, “And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”
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The phrase “put on” is a translation of the Greek word enduo, a common term that was used in New Testament times to denote the act of putting on a garment or a piece of clothing. Although clothing styles have changed innumerable times over the millennia, the process of putting on your garments has always been the same. If you’re going to dress properly for the day, you have to make the choice to look into the closet and select the clothes you wish to wear. Then you have to deliberately take that outfit off the hanger and slip it onto your body. Your clothes won’t jump out of the closet and onto your body without your help. If you are going to wear them, you have to put them on!
In the same way, Paul says we are to “put on love.” This word for “love” is the Greek word agape — a complex term that I call high-level love because there is no higher, finer, or more excellent love than agape love. As we have studied before, this kind of love occurs when an individual sees, recognizes, understands, and appreciates the value of an object or a person, causing the viewer to behold this object or person in great esteem, awe, admiration, wonder, and sincere appreciation. Such great respect is awakened in the heart of the observer for the object or person he is beholding that he is compelled to love. In fact, his love for that person or object is so strong that it is irresistible. If necessary, agape love will even sacrifice itself for the sake of that object or person it so deeply cherishes. Thus, agape is the highest form of love — a self-sacrificial type of love that moves one to action.
In First John 3:16, we are urged to possess agape for each other. It says, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” This plainly means that we are to love and appreciate each other just as fully and freely as God loves us.
The Father loved us to the point of self-sacrifice. In the same way, we are to agape our brothers and sisters to such a great extent that we would be willing to lay down our lives for them or forgive them for wrongs we perceive they have committed against us. We are to love others with no strings attached.
You may ask, “But how can I possess such love? Is it really possible for me to exhibit that kind of love for other people, including those who have offended or hurt me?”
Because the seed of God’s Word has been sown into your own human spirit, this divine love is within you all the time. If you will let the Spirit of God release it from your heart, you will begin to experience this fruit of the Spirit called agape as it swells up from deep within. And as you allow God’s love to flow out of your life to others, it will transform your character to become more like Jesus Christ.
But this kind of love is something you have to “put on” if you’re going to experience it. This love is always inside you — but it’s like clothing hanging in the closet. The clothes are yours, but you’ve got to walk to the closet, open the door, take the clothes off the hanger, slip your arms through the sleeves, and then begin to push the buttons through the buttonholes. You never get dressed by accident. It’s always a result of your decision and action.
Likewise, God has placed this amazing love deep inside you — in your “heart-closet,” so to speak. But you are the only one with the power to open the doors to that place where it is kept, take it off the hanger, and start putting it on. Furthermore, when you are tempted to take that love off and put it back in the closet out of anger or disappointment, remember that you alone can decide to adorn yourself in this agape love of God. So open your heart, reach inside, pull it out, and be determined to get dressed in the agape love of God. In fact, God commands it!
So refuse to let anger, frustration, and intolerance rule you — and take this command of God very seriously. Slip on the garment of agape love, and keep it on! God is love; in fact, it’s the very essence of who He is. And just as Jesus is the perfect reflection of the Father’s love (see John 15:9), so are you called to be a reflection of Jesus’ love. First John 4:17 declares, “…As he is, so are we in this world”!
Now that you know this type of divine love is inside you, you can deliberately and on purpose open the doors to your “heart-closet” to take it out and put it on! This will enable you to walk in love, regardless of the situation you find yourself in. Don’t you agree that it’s time for you to get dressed in the love of God today?
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord, I thank You for the love of God that has been shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Spirit who was given to me. Releasing this love is a choice, and I repent for the times I’ve chosen to walk in anger, frustration, or intolerance instead of choosing to put on love as You’ve instructed me to do. I thank You for Your great love for me. Jesus said I will prove to be His disciple when I release His love toward others. Thank You, Lord, for the gift of a free will. I honor You with it by choosing to put on agape love. I will give no place to the devil by keeping myself clothed in the love of God.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that the incorruptible seed of God’s Word is sown into my spirit. Therefore, God’s agape love is planted within me. I deliberately choose to put on that love as a garment. Clothed in the love of God, I walk into each situation covered with the God-kind of love that never fails, fades out, or comes to an end. In every situation I face, I am equipped to love others as God has loved me – purely from the heart, with no strings attached!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Have you had moments when you decided that you were going to walk in love instead of offense or anger? Isn’t it a victorious moment when you make the right choice? What is stopping you from making that choice today?
- Have you ever “half-walked” in love — as if you got your arm into one of your shirtsleeves, but then something happened that caused you to jerk your arm out of it and say something disparaging to someone else? What did you do to recover from that and to repair the hurt you may have caused?
- Are there individuals with whom you need to be careful that you don’t get out of love? Who are they? Have you put them on a prayer list and determined to make praying for these people a part of your daily prayer time?