“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs” –1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV).
A war once broke out and a king lost his throne because someone thought he had found love. The story goes, “In the course of time, “Amnon son of David fell in love with Tamar, the beautiful sister of Absalom son of David. (2 Samuel 13: 1-2). Ammon pretending to be ill convinced his father King David to send Tamar to take care of him. Once alone together he raped her. But almost soon after, he “hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her” (vv 15). Not long a war broke out led by Tamar’s brother, Absalom, who sought to avenge his sister’s abuse, culminating in the overthrow of David (2 Sam 15).
Ancient Greeks knew of six different types of love. There was Philia which meant friendship between equals. Storge meant the type of affection as seen between parents and children. Philautia meant self-love. Xenia was guest-friendship like being hospitable. Then there was Éros which means “love, mostly of the sexual passion”. Finally, Agápe which means “the unconditional love of God for man and of man for a good God.”
In the above story, Amnon was certainly taken up with Eros, and once his sexual passion was fulfilled there was no love anymore for Tamar. On the contrary we later find that even though Absalom would rebel and overthrew his father, he still loved him. King David directed his General Joab to “Be gentle with the young man Absalom for my sake” (2 Sam 18:5). After learning he had been killed in battle, “the king was shaken. He went up to the room over the gateway and wept. As he went, he said: “O my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you—O Absalom, my son, my son” (vv 33).
David’s love for his son was Agape love, which is unconcerned with the self and concerned with the greatest good of another. Agape love isn’t born just out of emotions, feelings, familiarity, or attraction, but from the will and as a choice. It is a choice, a deliberate striving for another’s highest good, and is demonstrated through action. God set the standard for Agape love in sending Jesus to die for us while we were still sinners. This is the type of love which we should all emulate in our personal relations.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, creator of heaven and earth, as your love for me unconditional, I pray, just like David, I may share and live it in my personal relations.
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“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God”- (Philippians 4:6).
Perhaps you have heard of a certain old magical trade known as mind reading. According to this trade which has been around for millenniums and has its share of tricksters, mind readers are able to discern thought patterns of individuals before they even utter a word. There are places in the world where this, as expected, is a lucrative occupation, with practitioners, often crafty magicians, demanding hefty fees, just to tell thoughts of others.
As Christians, of course, we have an all knowing God, who has said, “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” ( Mathew 6:8). Further, our Lord has pointed out, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” ( Mathew 6:7). As Christians when we come to God, we do so with full confidence, that He already knows our needs and will meet them according to his glorious riches in heaven.
Of particular interest for us here is that while God perfectly knows our needs before we even dare utter a single word, still it is incumbent upon us to make our requests known to Him. A parent may have long noticed a child has a need for a new pair of shoes; but it is another dimension, when the child does come out and share aloud that his pair is worn out, hurting and is quite in need of a new one. The parent takes notice, especially when the matter is presented with such conviction and urgency. This is why Hannah cried out to God for a child ( 1 Samuel 1:9-18).
In our relationship with God, as the Apostle Paul advises us, it is not just enough to assume and let matters be, that after all God knows all our needs, but we too bear a responsibility to make our requests known to Him. Once we are done with that, we let God do His part, allowing “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” ( Philippians 4:7) to flood us.
So, today, do not hold back your needs from the Almighty God. He has paved the way to walk to Him through His son Jesus Christ, to present your case, bear out your heart’s desire, and let Him do His part!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise to make my requests known to you, knowing you have heard me even before I utter a single word, assured that you will meet each and every one of my needs, according to your glorious riches in heaven!