Awesome Word that you need today! From Jesse Weeks:
What a joy to teach Children’s Church this past Sunday. They are indeed gifts from God! I rarely deal with children that I don’t learn something myself. They can be very perceptive and insightful, and always honest.
We discussed the four types of love that the Bible uses in scripture. Since the theme of the Bible is love and the basis for our doctrine is love, we can never study and discuss love enough, especially with our children. Once we came to the understanding that we don’t really love pizza or hate broccoli, we had a lively discussion of “Storge” or family love, “Phileo” or brotherly love, and “Eros” or romantic love. We kept the Eros discussion rather short due to giggles and funny faces from the older group, and after convincing the younger group that the Indians did not use Eros to kill the calvary. They quickly understood that these types of love were based on emotions.
We soon focused on the perfect “Agape” love of God for us and His desire that we love our neighbor that way. Just like most of us adults, they found it just as difficult to practice that love towards strangers. They easily accepted that God could love them no matter how they acted but expressed difficulty loving total strangers when they were committing “mean” acts or crimes. As adults, we can relate to their difficulty and we struggle with explaining to our children how it’s possible.
If we understand that agape love is goodwill, benevolence and willful delight in the object of love and it involves faithfulness, commitment, and an act of the will. That it is distinguished from the other types of love by its lofty moral nature and strong character. With that understanding we might have a chance of explaining agape love to our children. Reading 1 Corinthians 13 in a children’s Bible to them on a regular basis should help as well. The best way to explain agape love to our children is to practice it in their presence. Think before reacting and speaking about a current event that involves heinous acts of the flesh that stir up immediate anger or outrage. If we act and speak with a Godly prayerful attitude, they will quickly see that we can love and pray for even the worst of these strangers with the agape love that God displays and expects from us. We should remember that agape love, as modeled by Christ, is not based on a feeling; rather, it is a determined resolve to put the welfare of others above our own.
Agape love does not come naturally to us. Because of fallen nature, we are incapable of producing such a love. If we are to love as God loves, that agape love can only come from its Source. This is the love that “has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” when we became His children (Romans 5:5). “This is how we know what love is; Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16). Because of God’s love toward us, we are able to love one another.
Let’s pledge to teach and illustrate to our children the perfect agape love of God. We will all be better for it!