Living Beyond Yourself Week Three: Love

Our week three guest post comes from Jennifer Johns, who loves learning, living and sharing the encouragement of a spiritual life in God with others. Jen writes and prays you’re blessed by this study! You can find Jen on Twitter @GoingByFaith.

In Week 3 of Living Beyond Yourself by Beth Moore, we study how love exudes from every one of the nine characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit, but it is a love we can’t generate ourselves; this kind of love comes only from God. He develops this foundational fruit in our lives through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Our reading this week starts off with two types of worldly love: eros (grasping love) and philos (friendly love). Eros love is linked with human sexuality, longing and desire, and philos love is linked with friendship, as it literally means “the love one has toward a friend or companion.”

Even with their positive attributes, neither of these forms of love are examples of God’s type of love. For example, how many times have we seen friendships form out of unsavory common interests or grow sour from betrayal? How often have we seen sexual love taken to destructive extremes or used to control and manipulate?

Standing in a class of its own, we learn that agape love, or the divine love of God, is an act of the Holy Spirit that results in our obedience. As Moore puts it, agape is not as much a feeling as it is a response. It’s not an emotion we feel, but a command we are to follow. Unconditional and aligned with the highest interest, God pours agape love to us and through us via the Holy Spirit. It is because we were loved in this way first that we can love God and others.

On days three and four of the study, we read about the 14 characteristics of agape love and how God uses it in our lives. By day five we find a perfect demonstration of agape love in the life of Jesus Christ, and realize that having the capacity to love God requires a supernatural ability. How blessed we are to know we can call on the Holy Spirit to fill us with God’s love!

Prayer Requests

Week three of Living Beyond Yourself is a time when we see a real commitment for this study. We encourage you to stay the course. Pray for God to light a fire under those who are falling behind or tempted to stray from the study.

On page 60 in the workbook, Beth writes about a special prayer. She asks the Lord to give her a supernatural love for the people she is teaching. Each day this week, pray and ask God to give you a supernatural love for your family, work or community.

We welcome any prayer needs from the group and ask that you will print a copy of the prayers, place them, in your workbook and pray for these women. If you have a prayer request for our prayer wall, please click here.

Beth Moore Quotes

  • Prayer is the hallmark of intimacy with Christ.
  • Satan is out to destroy the church, which is best accomplished through destroying the family.
  • Love one another as if “blood-related.”
  • God invites His children to be more than just friends. He wants us to love as brothers.
  • By the time we are emotional enough to quarrel over an issue, pride is always involved.
  • Humans revel in recording the failures of others.
  • Agape begins with a response and ends with a feeling.

This Week’s Scripture Verse-NIV

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7

I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. John 17:9

Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.  1 Corinthians 14:1-3

For Next Week

  • Listen to the Session Three Audio (optional)
  • OR…Listen to the Session Three Video (optional)
  • Read Week Four in the workbook

Group Discussion- Answer one question or as many as you like

  1. Read 1 Corinthians 13 aloud. Each time you see the word “love” replace it with the words “divine love.” (agape)
  2. In Christ we are blood relatives. How should our kinship affect our relationship to one another? (page 57)
  3. Proverbs 13:10 says “pride only breeds quarrels.” The last time you quarreled with someone, was any pride involved on your part? (page 62)
  4. Share something memorable from this week’s lesson. (we call these Garden Tools)

Author Christine Abraham

Founder and Ministry Director of the Womens Bible Cafe™ since 2009, Christine has led 60+ online Bible Studies for women. She completed a Graduate of Biblical Studies from Liberty University. She's an inspired writer, Amazon Top Reviewer and Blogger Follow on Facebook

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Join the discussion 62 Comments

  • Amanda Taylor says:

    1. Done and I really enjoyed this.
    2. The bond of family can’t be broken by anything. Even when family is going through rough stuff they are still connected by blood.
    3. When were fighting with anyone in general its always wrapped in pride. Proving were right and they are wrong etc.
    4. Agape is DIVINE love. That even to love God is divine and supernatural! I can request to love God more and have a continual growing love for Him.

    I know I’m way way behind but God has been using this study in a mighty way in my life. Beyond what I expected when I started this study. I’m convinced that even though I’m behind I’m learning all of this according to His timing. I hope to catch up on everyone’s comments soon!

  • Victoria says:

    1. Done

    2. We should exude all the things described in 1 Peter 3:8 toward our fellow Christians.

    3. Yes. Pride has been a stronghold for me- I don’t like being wrong or even being outdone.

    4. a) Pray for a revived marriage. A revived love life-that we not just go through the motions, but that we thrill one another!
    b) Treat my friends right and good, especially my fellow Christian brothers and sisters. Do not love $ or myself.
    c) Mostly the passages about pride speak to me. And also what was said about not taking responsibility for my husband’s spirituality. I need to relinquish my feeling of responsibility! It’s hindering my own!!
    d) What a way to bring 1 Corinthians 13 into my life in a much bigger way. Profound! I plan to study this much much more!!!
    e) Love is not just a word or words; It is an action! Love must be demonstrated! And I will now remind myself, “God is greater than our hearts” 1 John 3:20

  • Jennifer D says:

    1. Done
    4. a) fruit of spirit
    b) friend love (philos)
    c) agape –caring love
    d) more about agape
    e) action
    All the words that I saw were very interesting and very informative.

    • Christine says:

      I agree. I’ve been making a list in the back of my workbook, so far I’ve written:

      eros=grasping love (page 52)
      philos=friend love (page 56)
      agape=caring love (page 59)
      chara=joy (page 74)
      eirene=peace (page 98)

  • Carin says:

    Ok, still a little behind but here I am!

    Jen~ I love your blog…I want to read more of your past ones but have only been able to read a few and the ones I did are great!

    2. I struggle with this “Blood relative” thing….I don’t have harmony with all my blood relatives and find some relationship within the family “dysfunctional”. I have always said that we can choose our friends but we can’t choose our relatives. This is an area that I realize needs to start with my family first to be able to move on to the outside….This really made me think!

    3. Not always is pride involved in my quarrels. I quarrel with frustration…Like “don’t you get it” or “why are you treating me that way” type. My problem is that I end up backing away and not talking to the person for days or months or for some relatives YEARS….If it is my husband he suffers for a few days. Another area I need to work on!

    4. Agape love blows me away!

    I love this study and really love Beth Moore’s teachings! This lesson gives me more added prayers for myself for forgiveness and grace for sure!

  • Clara says:

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 13 aloud. Each time you see the word “love” replace it with the words “divine love.” (agape)

    2. In Christ we are blood relatives. How should our kinship affect our relationship to one another? (page 57)

    We should treat everyone as we would a family member. We should be willing to help them without them having to ask or care for them with no regret. We should be willing to do anything we can to let them know we care for them.

    3. Proverbs 13:10 says “pride only breeds quarrels.” The last time you quarreled with someone, was any pride involved on your part? (page 62)

    I think any time we fight there is pride involved. For me it usually involves me not wanting to admit I am wrong. Another source of quarrels for me is not seeing the other person’s viewpoint and thinking only of my situation.

    4. Share something memorable from this week’s lesson. (we call these Garden Tools) Something that has really been on my heart lately has been the state of my heart. We have been reading about love and what it means to love someone. I have been struggling lately and I feel God has revealed to me that when we have bitterness, anger, or hate in our hearts it block our ability to love. For instance I have been having some trouble with people at work and have a lot of bitterness right now toward them. This has affected my work life as well as my home life. I have been short with my family and friends and having a hard time finding joy. The Lord revealed to me that I need to let go of this bitterness. He has prompted me to start praying for those people whom I am having the most trouble with. This is the last thing my flesh wants to do, but I know my spirit needs me to do this.

  • Tonya says:

    4. Share something memorable from this week’s lesson. (We call these Garden Tools)

    Hi Everyone. I too have enjoyed learning the characteristics of Agape (divine love). I greatly enjoyed “Beth’s” Poem at the end of Day four. It was such a wonderful reminder that that we are helpless to obtain and engage in this agape form of love toward others without the help and direction of the Holy Spirit.

    Reading 1st Corinthians 13 was like reading it for the first time all over again with a new mind set. And as Beth said, our prayers should be to continuously seek guidance from God by trading in our heart for His. What beautiful words of encouragement!

    So be encouraged my Brothers and Sisters, because our “Hearts” are just undergoing heart surgery with all the tweaks of everyday life and its many confrontations. If we seek God’s Word as our daily medication, the Holy Spirit will slowly replace all of our ineffective, unproductive, fruitless parts with the effectual, eternally supernatural, (agape) loving heart of God.

    Our prayer always being: Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Amen! (Psalm 51:10)KJV

  • Jen Johns says:

    Everyone’s comments have been helpful to read. Almost all have mentioned that pride: 1) makes us want to be right, 2) keeps us from resolving conflicts, 3) tempts us to feel blamed, 4) tempts us to blame others, 5) tells us to get the last word (keeps it going)…

    Lord, please help us grow in your agape love. Help us have eyes to see and ears to hear what’s right with the help of the Spirit.

  • Laura says:

    In Christ we are blood relatives. How should our kinship affect our relationship to one another? We would not judge so quickly, would we quickly judge our daughter? We would not treat “undesirables” without dignity, when our teenage son’s room is a mess and he smells after practice do we treat him less than human. We would not anger easily at a co-worker’s rash statement, when our husband makes a thoughtless quip about our lack of exercise do we retaliate with insults ……well maybe that was a bad example! 

    Proverbs 13:10 says “pride only breeds quarrels.” The last time you quarreled with someone, was any pride involved on your part? Well my quarrels may not start with quarrels, but when I have to have the last word, that maybe pride at work.

    Share something memorable from this week’s lesson & a garden tool.
    I am a big believer in the eros love for my husband, for me this love comes naturally to me. I long for more philos love. Maybe it’s things learned from childhood but, have rarely had close friends. I have prayed for more of that type of love in my life.
    I also was encouraged by the fact that the Holy Spirit is like a transmitter for God’s love. It touches me that the Holy Spirit is sensitive. It is sensitive to obscenity or indecency and evil in general. I think that’s why it’s important that we feed the Holy Spirit that lives in us with excellent and worthy experiences, thoughts and visuals. It is maybe important to know that the one unforgiveable sin is the one of blasphemes against the Holy Spirit. (Matt 12:30-31 & Luke 12:8-10)
    I have equated garden tools, the last two weeks so going to see if I can be inspired to do so again this week…God-Holy Spirit-Love- us. Something a gardener cannot do without, they have to love their garden but one tool I could not do without is my trowel. It’s like a mini shovel, I can dig up irrigation line, get weeds up, shape the soil, hammer with it, it’s a gotta have, if I only get on. So like all of the gifts of the spirit love is the best, if you gotta have only one it should be love!

  • Susan says:

    1. Done

    2. Our kinship to one another should be, love, kiindness and understanding. We are all in the same family of Christ even if they are non-belivers so we need to try and treat each other the same…..or should I say try to treat them the same no matter what there circumstances are? Am I making any sense????

    3. PRIDE…is my dowm fall everytime…..we have family visting and just yesterday we got LOST going to a Indiana State Park. We made a wrong turn and ended up were we just came from. Needless to say they were blaming everyone, but my pride got in the way….for I believed they were just blaming me as I was driving. I wanted to go home for we had a seven month old baby girl and my ill husband in the car and by that time EVERYONE was getting cranky. So we went on……as we came this far already. Needless to say I was real quiet the rest of the trip….prayiing sliently…” Lord keep my big mouth shut please”! Pride was rearing its ugly head.

    4. 1 Corinthians 13 is also my garden tool for this is one of my farvotie chapters in the bible, and boy I needed yesterday after getting lost. Prise the Lord for His words.

  • Kai says:

    1) Powerful!
    2) When reading this, I think of the Golden Rule. We should treat everyone as we would want to be treated or as we would want our immediate family treated.
    3) It is very hard to admit that pride is often the fuel that keeps me in an argument. When I think about it, pride has often kept me from resolving conflicts that could have easily been fixed. I will definately try hard to work on this character flaw.

  • Stacy says:

    I really enjoyed this week of study. 1 Corinthians13 is a verse that has always spoken to me. When I was in high school and struggling with some bad choices I had made this verse somehow found me and really inspired me to make changes in myself and the way I treated others. I cant say I was completely changed at that point but reading that verse again after so many years reminds me of how far I have come.

    2) Our kinship with one another means that we should be treating everyone with love and kindness. We are all members of the same family and should treat each other with the respect we give to our families.

    3) Pride often is the reason I will have an argument with someone, especially my husband. I never want to admit that I am in the wrong, it is so hard to admit that we may have made a mistake. I am working on this, but it is very hard to let go of that pride.

    4) 1 Corinthians13 is my garden tool for the week, I love these words and as I said earlier they have always spoken to my heart. I read this verse many times because the words are so beautiful.

  • Lorna says:

    Heard a pastor once say that while reading 1 Corinthians 13 4-7 replace “love” with your name . . . so here goes . . .

    Lorna is patient, Lorna is kind. Lorna does not envy, Lorna does not boast, Lorna is not proud. Lorna is not rude, Lorna is not self-seeking, Lorna is not easily angered, Lorna keeps no record of wrongs. Lorna does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Lorna always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    Can’t say that I’ve kept all and am all but with Divine Love within me – He can!

  • Jacki says:

    1. How should our kinship affect our relationship to one another? God put all of us on this earth to love and to take care of one another. He did not intend for fighting based upon race, religion, or political affiliation. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. Our enemies are not our blood relatives, our enemy is Satan and all of the evil he produces.

    2. The last time I had a quarrel when pride was involved was with my husband. We truly love each other but when we do quarrel there is pride that we both think that we are right. This is not good because it is very stressful for our family and feelings get hurt. We need to forget our pride and remember that we are part of a family that God brought together. We both must step out of ourselves and work together.

    3. You know I really strive to have agape love towards people. My question is how can you have this divine love when someone has hurt you emotionally for years and years? I am all for forgiving and forgetting. But did Jesus really want us to be victimized for years. Is is ok to just walk away and say “I am not going to be a victim any more?” Some people we cannot change no matter how much you love them. And some people may just have evil in their heart. Can you just pray to God and say I hand this person to you because I just cannot take it any more? Sometimes you try to love someone truly but no matter what you do they still reject you and treat you bad. This is something I am struggling with. It has caused me a great amount of pain and I just do not have the answer.

    • Christine says:

      Would any Christian take the place of a man or woman on death row, or waiting for the execution chair? Of course not! Yet Jesus did…and this shows the love God has for His children. We receive agape love from Him.

      • Jenny DeJong says:

        Please know that you can show someone love & forgiveness without giving them full access to hurt or victimize you. The book “Boundaries” by Henry Cloud & John Townsend is an excellent Christian resource that I think you would find helpful. Praying for you.

    • suzanne says:

      It looks to me like you are on the right track. The most important thing, I find, is to pray. Pray without ceasing – for that person, for guidance on what you should do, for strength and of course for God’s love to show through you. Cry in brokeness to Him if that’s where you’re at. I do believe it is right to leave that person in God’s hands. You are not the one to change that person. God is. That person is responsible for their decisions. You listen to the Lord. Don’t worry. Have a peace that God is working. Don’t feel burdened, feel confident that God is in control.

    • Jen Johns says:

      I’m praying for you too Jacki. Your questions are shared by many, but the only true answer can come from God. Give it up to Him and pray for His protection. Cry out to Him.

      “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph 6:12).

      God makes miracles happen in impossible situations.

  • Christine says:

    C. S. Lewis, in his book The Four Loves, used agape to describe what he believed was the highest level of love known to humanity—a selfless love, a love that was passionately committed to the well-being of the other.


  • Joeanna says:

    Pride is so decieving. My quarells do come from pride and insecurity. For God, because He loves me unconditionally,I want to give up my right to be right. Pride keeps us from agape love. Sometimes we think that in pride we win, but God says pride makes us lose everything.
    I have learned this week that my pride is hidden in my “poor me everyone hurts me” mentality. i push people away, because i think down the line they will hurt me.Agape is not self-seeking

  • Judee Baysinger says:

    I think we all fight against pride everyday. Just when you think you’ve “got it”, you are probably feeling prideful. Pride is the hardest thing I have to deal with. Every time I think “why can’t I or why not me”. any time my thoughts turn to ” I,ME, or Mine” that is pride sneaking in there. Pride is one of Satan’s most powerful tools. There is no place in agape love for ” I,Me or Mine”. It’s all bout GOD and HIM.

    • Christine says:

      I’m curious if pride is something common in wealthy nations and absent in poor nations. Do you see pride in other cultures? Is pride woven into our culture through media- movies, music, books and television? Is pride seeping into the church when we idolize famous pastors, or we go to the church to hear the pastor and not to hear the Word?

      This is a group question.

      • Jennifer says:

        This question got me thinking about the Sormali woman that was stoned by the Islamist because she committed adultry.How would we be if we lived in a place like that?!Would we think twice before we were tempted to sin!

  • Joeanna says:

    #4–Emotions may accompany Agape love but it is not an emotion. Agape is a response

  • Jennifer says:

    1. I read 1 Corintians13.Replaced love with divine love.My answer for 2 and 3 go hand in hand!Pride gets in the way of loving others!As I was reading verses 12 in 1Corintians13 I started crying ,because as I examined myself,thats all I saw was a poor reflection of myself!!Especially these last 10 years of my life!This study has showed me its not all about “me”It’s all about”God” and how we are to have love for each other and to be there for each other!I pray that the Lord Jesus Christ would give me the Spirit of wisdom and revelation to know him better,so I can serve Him better!!I know that there are no accidents,that the Lord lead me to this study!!As for a gardening tool,I guess it would be a shovel!To bury my pride and selfishness !!Daily asking God to feel me with HIS DIVINE LOVE!!!

  • Cindy says:

    Yesterday’s, lesson reminded me that years ago, as a young bride, God kindly showed me that my husband could not meet all my needs, he was not my god. When I allowed God to give me the love that I needed, that allowed me to love my husband even more and freed him to love me. After 40 years, three children, seven grandchildren, and a lifetime of ups and downs, I can truly say that I love this man more today than when we married.

  • Becky says:

    3.Proverbs 13:10 says “pride only breeds quarrels.” The last time you quarreled with someone, was any pride involved on your part? (page 62)

    Oh yes definitely. My very human nature wants to be right and prove to whomever I am argueing with, that they are wrong and I am RIGHT. God is so wanting to working in me thru his Holy Spirit as a result of things revealed to me by doing this study.
    There is nothing that I have not heard preached before but now with the Holy Spirit making it like a neon sign blinking inside of me.
    I was still letting the discernment/critical spirit from last weeks audio roll over on me when I was hit with the Agape love message.
    I am coming to realize that in and of myself I am not able to walk out this life in Agape but by the power of the precious Holy Spirit. His strength is shown greatness in my weakness.
    . Share something memorable from this week’s lesson- By belief and experience I am unashamedly Penecostal/Charismatic. The audio for this week really hit home for me always looking for some uber spiritual floating in the heavenly realm “word” from God. While I certainly believe that God will use any means necessary to get his message to use (think a donkey), He wants us/me to be a devout student of his written word. That would clear up alot of confusion as I study the “Word” the Holy Spirit will reveal to me what He would have me to know.

  • Debbie says:

    I think what most stuck with me is that agape love should be all inclusive. It’s easy to love some more than others. I make more of an effort with some more than others. God loved all and sent His son. I need to choose to do the same. They will know that I am His disciple by the way I love. And by the way, often I am unloveable but God’s love didn’t exclude me. Praise Him for that!!

  • Mary Ann says:

    2. We need to love each other as families love each other. We need to care for each other the way families care about each other. I learned from this lesson that only God is capable of agape However, we should try to show, to our sisters in Christ, a love that is as close to agape as we can get.
    3. I agree that any time we quarrel, pride gets involved–it usually involves proving who is right (prideful behavior.) I’m guilty, guilty, guilty. I wish I could say I weren’t but I am. My husband and I have been married for 25 and we were dating for 5 years before that so we tend to get in little quarrels (never anything big but they are quarrels just the same) and we play the I’m right, no, I’m right game. I’m always ashamed of myself afterward.
    4. 1 Corinthians 13 is my garden tool for this week. I read it like I never have before. My goal is to improve in at least one of the attributes of agape every day.

    Praise God for this study. His timing is always perfect.

    • Jen says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience Mary Ann. I’m in a new marriage and see the pride game at work between us… it’s good to know that there’s hope, especially after 25 years of marriage. Have a nice week!


  • Dedie Pope says:

    In Christ we are blood relatives. How should our kinship affect our relationship to one another? (page 57)

    Our kinship with each other should consist of being kind, sympathetic, compassionate, and humble toward each other. This week, as I read through the study, the Holy Spirit exposed to me those areas in my life, in which, I needed to examine and apply sympathy, kindness, compassion, and humility. I believe this extends to others, who may not be my brothers or sisters, yet, as well.

    In recent weeks, as I drive to work I pass a man at a freeway on ramp. I have been lead by the Spirit to bring this man breakfast. I usually am rushing and forget to buy him breakfast as I am buying my own (selfish – I, remember my own hunger but not another person’s hunger). I tell God, “Tomorrow Lord I, promise I will remember.” Two things hit home with me this week, the first – God is so faithful to us because He loves us. I could never imagine the Lord saying, “Oh, Dedie I just got so busy and forgot but I will remember to answer or hear your prayers tomorrow.” The Lord of the universe keeps His promises and shows me His love in many ways, which includes remembering me/us. I have to show God’s love and mine, for this man, by remembering him. This leads me to the second thing I, have learned about me. I hear His voice and in some instances, I do not listen. Obedience…. I am still learning and when I am convicted my response is usually, “Oh Papa (Lord) I was busy, I have so much on my mind, I have my own struggles”. I saw this week it has been more about me than Him.

    This week, when I go to work I, will bring this gentleman breakfast and I will share, with him how the Lord used him to convict me of my own selfishness.

    • Jen says:

      Hi Dedie,

      Did you bring the gentleman breakfast? I’m interested to hear how the interaction goes. Thanks for inspiring me this week!


      • Dedie Pope says:

        Hi Jen,

        Thank you for asking how breakfast went. It went good for a first time meeting. The gentleman was appreciative of the breakfast however: our exchange of words was limited because the light turned green and he was trying to collect money and also, because a peace officer was driving by and the man was trying to hide from pan handling. I will follow the Lord’s lead on this. Who knows 🙂 maybe I will continue to bring him breakfast and over time get to know him.

        I do not believe in coincidences but rather divine appointments and reasons. My husband and I just found out this week that a dear friend of ours (he and his wife lost their home last year and having been staying with friends and family up until this past Aug.) is now homeless and unemployed not by choice. My heart breaks for them and for the man I brought food too.

        I do not like to admit it but over time my heart had hardened toward the plight of homelessness maybe to desensitize myself to what I witnessed. I told myself they had addiction problems, they did not want help, they “made their own bed” and all the other things individuals tell themselves to not deal with a situation. God has told me and showed me it, is not my place to judge or make excuses for them or myself but rather to love them and most importantly show them through my actions and words the wonderful hope they have in the Lord Jesus Christ!

        I think of my friend, who is a wonderful person. Intelligent, worked in the banking industry, and had a beautiful two-story home. At age 45, when we think we are financially secure it is gone. I have just recently read Heaven by Randy Alcorn and need to get it to him. There is so much more waiting for him…..


  • Jen Johns says:

    This week really opened my eyes to what agape love truly means, and how/why it can only come from God. It helps us realize how incapable we are of divine love on our own and how we need God and the work of the Holy Spirit.

    It made me think of what Paul wrote, “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway” (Romans 7:18-19). Since love is the foundation of all the characteristics of the fruit of the spirit and agape love can only come from, we are greatly blessed when God uses our life to let this divine love flow to and through us.

    Thinking of question #3: The last time you quarreled with someone, was any pride involved on your part? (page 62) Yes, definitely, especially with my husband. Now I realize that we are commanded to this love, and as we learn in the study, it’s more of a response than an emotion. Even when I don’t “feel” like remaining kind, loving and patient in the middle of an argument, it’s the only way to react. It’s following God’s command.

  • Jen says:

    Hi everyone,
    what an amazing week!
    My garden tool for the week is in relation to the characteristic of agape love that it always protects. I struggle with this a lot.. exposing the faults of others. My focus for this week is to “cover those around me with a cloak of love so that a fault cannot be seen”. I love that image and hope we strive to do this for those we love.

  • Kellie Vincent says:

    I am combining questions 2&3 because they truly relate with each other. God has given us self pride in order to help and serve others as they are our blood brothers and sisters. The pride he has enriched in us is not to be a negative type of pride but a pride of willingness and talent. As an only child I can only imagine what it is to have a “blood” brother or sister but I would envision this person to share such a common bond with yourself. With this bond, you would then have a sense of accountability to this person. When the individual would start turning in the direction, you would be quickly there to show them a new way. When the individual accomplished something great, you would be there to share this great achievement. I ask God to help me use my pride he has given me to treat others in such an honorable way. This has been a wonderful week!

    • Christine says:

      I’m not familiar with any scripture verses where God approves of pride. I looked at this article about pride and to me it affirms that God hates pride. Maybe you are talking about self-confidence?

      • Kellie Vincent says:

        No definitely not self confidence. What I’m trying to say obviously isn’t coming out the way I was thinking. In no way at all am I stating pride of self – confidence or selfish reasonings. I definitely believe I have great pride for how God lives in me and uses me and it can be seen through my actions and my love I have for others. Is this pride that is taking away from him and not allowing him to fill me up with the Spirit, absolutely not.

  • This week has been a tough week. I tend to step back when God gets a little to personal and His AGAPE is about as personal as it gets. Reading through the very kinds of love and the contrast between them, I realized the one I was best at was EROS, the selfish-love. The entire week and the Scriptures within the lesson constantly stirred at a complaint that I have had over the years.

    I can’t think of a time in my life that I haven’t felt lonely. I can be in a room filled with people, know them all by name, and even know that many of them know my name; yet, still feel on the outside looking in. I can go to weddings, funerals, birthday celebrations, casual dinners with other families, and simple one on one fellowships and still walk away feeling very alone. I know there are people who care about me. I realize if something were to happen to me, my family and several people I have known over the years would grieve and miss me; yet, something leaves me feeling very much still alone and an outcast. Others will invite me to share in their joy and their sorrow but I still hold back. I still refrain from giving them that glimpse inside of me and my fears, my laughter, my passion, and the unique person that God made me.

    God used the lesson on AGAPE love to show me that the problem was me. I keep people at an arms length, very similar to the way I keep God. The whole thing got really personal when the Holy Spirit took me on a trip down memory lane, mental photos of the beginning of my relationship with my husband and our marriage. I remembered the early years and the frequent times my husband would tell me I am beautiful. I remembered the many times he would come into the room behind me to give me a hug. I remembered the occasions when we would sit together in church and he would hold me close to him as I listened to the Word and just wept because life felt hard that day. And I remembered time and time again how I responded to his every effort to love me, I would quickly kiss him on the cheek and step back. I would criticize my outfits, my weight, my hair, or even my make-up and ask him if he was sure I looked okay. My body would tense up, when he would wrap his arms around me for a hug, and I would just wish he was almost done hugging me. On the occasions at church I let him hold me, I was quick to push away when service was over.

    But God didn’t stop with these memories. He took me back to our wedding and my husband’s proposal. I was a single parent on disability, recently unemployed, unsure if I would even be able to have another child, exhibiting very unstable mental and emotional behavior, with a past of promiscuity and not even able to tell my daughter who her real father was. I had no money. My parents had no money and my relationship with my dad was estranged. When we got married, my husband had to pay for the wedding and my dress. He assumed my college bills, my accumulated credit card debts, became a father to my daughter, and I had nothing to offer him. I realized, last night, how very much of an AGAPE love my husband has for me. I came to him the same way I came to Christ, with nothing to offer. My life was a MESS and the only thing I could give him was me, damaged at best. He never once felt like he got the short end of the stick. Time and time again he has told me how precious I am to him and what an honor it has been to be my husband. He has told me how I still make him get butterflies when he looks at me and what a delight it is when I sit in his arms or even just go for simple drive with him; yet, through all these years I have tried to keep him at arms length. It is the distance that I have kept between him and I that reveal the distance that I have kept between my Lord and I.

    The gardening tool I choose this week is a stake, a piece of wood used for the vine plants to twine themselves around and grow up on. The stake is the support I find in two particular promises in God’s word this week, “God is greater than my heart,” and “Love never fails.” I have kept God and His AGAPE at a distance because I have been afraid to trust Him with my fears, my dreams, my hopes, and even my expectations of Him. I have been so afraid that when it was all said and I done I would look around and find myself despised, outcast, and completely abandoned by those I desperately love and desire to be loved in return. I have been so afraid, somehow, God wouldn’t be enough. These promises and the way the Holy Spirit is ministering them to my life will provide the necessary strength and support I am needing to grow up and bear fruit. Beth Moore said that AGAPE is not really an emotion, it is a response. How can I respond to something that I choose not to experience? The more I experience God’s love for me, the more it will overflow into the lives of those around me.

    • Renee says:

      I hope you get to listen to the audio or see the video that goes with this lesson! It’s really good.

    • Jen says:

      Isn’t it amazing how you can now see the love your husband has for you! Thank God and thank your husband for this agape love around you. I am praying for you this week to be able to push yourself to yield to the Spirit to be able to show this love back to him. My prayer is that your love is through action, not just words. You need to read over and over the John 17 to realize how much God has loved us. It is very hard to love another until you realize how much God loves us and how we should love ourselves.
      If interested Beth Moores book on “so long insecurity” is amazing. It talks about loving yourself to love others. It is almost that there needs to be agape love for yourself as well!

    • Michele says:

      Wow, Lisa,

      Your post more than any other stood out to me. I guess because I can see a mirror image practically of myself. With my husband, I even went as far as divorcing him because so much of my past still existed between us. Once alone, I realized the problem was in my heart and had really nothing to do with him. We are thankfully re-married. And I’m trying very hard to keep the things that haunted me before from ruining things again, but I admit it is a struggle. I was pretty upset over the eros section of this week’s lesson as it very much illustrated how much I don’t like being kissed and loved. I have no desire left in me and don’t know how to change it. So between that lesson and your post, I’m a basket case this week. All I know to do is pray and keep on trudging along. Praying for you.

      • Michelle,

        Thank you so much for sharing your experience with me. If there is one thing I have learned over the years it is that God never gives up. I am not who I will eventually be but neither am I the person that I used to be either! He is doing a work in us both and it is an ongoing process. I tried for years to be over my past. I used to volunteer to be a volunteer at the crisis pregnancy center and every time I would open up the training materials I would begin to cry. My past haunted me at every turn. It was years before I allowed God to even begin ministering to me about it. A friend of mine challenged me, when I first allowed God to begin the healing process, to take the Love Language quiz and find out what my love language is. I told her I knew my love language, it was physical touch. She said that there was no way that could be because I didn’t like to be touched. Then she gave me the quiz. My love language was and still is physical touch; yet, my past had caused such brokenness and shame that I couldn’t trust anyone to physically touch me. Over the years I still struggle with touch but I am more open to it now. I remember praying through the Song of Songs for years and just reading the Scriptures from there aloud. I began to find healing in that. Over these last few years I’ve allowed my life to get busier and in the process of being busy I have reverted back to several of those trust issues. This study is my way of slowing down and allowing the Lord to love on me again. I miss the closeness that I had with Him and the healing that I found from my past and in my marriage when I spent time daily with Him and in His Word. Don’t panic. It all takes place in His time. God made us fearfully and wonderfully. This means that He put a great deal of thought into us and treated us with reverent, tender care, as He created us and allowed life to be a part of molding us. He knows just how much we can handle and will never put upon us more than we can bear. He is the greatest physician you will ever see and has the steadiest, most skilled hands of a surgeon you will ever know. NO ONE is more invested in Your healing than Him! Thank you for praying for me. I will also pray for you 🙂

    • Michele says:

      Wow Lisa,

      Your post among all the other really stood out to me. I suppose it’s because it is almost a mirror of myself. With my husband however, I even went as far as divorcing him because of all the monsters in my past. Once alone though I came to realize the problem wasn’t with our relationship, it was everything from my past that I let come into the relationship. Thankfully, we are re-married. But I must confess I still struggle to keep the monsters at bay. I still don’t like the hugging and kissing and all that involves. The section on eros love this week brought a well spring of tears. I just have no desire left in me and I don’t know how to change that. So combining that with your post making me look at myself and how I am handling things, I am a bit of a basket case this week. I don’t know how many times the thought hasn’t crossed my mind since we got back together that he’d be better off if I’d just leave him alone. But his showing me agape love, when I SO don’t deserve it keeps me hanging on. All I can do is pray and keep trudging along hoping I will one day not feel undeserving. Thank you for your candidness.

  • Lauren says:

    2. Kinship means that we should desire good for each other and look out for each other. Be interested in what is going on in the lives of each other and love each other even after we disagree. Family and close friends are those who can be separated for days, months, or years, and pick up right where they left off. In this manner, we as the Church should be… and have you ever met someone in line or at a ballgame or in the mall and just felt like you knew them? Have an immediate “like” to them and feel comfortable in their presence… then, as you continue to talk to them, you discover they are your brother or sister in Christ? We should seek out those encounters and demonstrate love for each other.
    3. Pride is often a factor in my arguments, especially with my husband. It is also often a factor in my negative response to things at work. A lot of time I am self-conscious and doubt my ability to do something, so I become extremely defensive in an attempt to cover up my embarassment and inadequacies,so I find myself causing problems when I dont’ mean to.
    4. I loved this week- and I’m not just saying that because it is about love! Sunday I was walking on the treadmill, listening to my Ipod, which does contain some secular songs because I have my Zumba music on there, but is mostly contemporary Christian songs, and it hit me… every song that came on either had love in the name of the title of the album(The Generous Mr. Lovewell- highly recommend it, the name of the title of the song, or was about love… because what else is there, really, when we get down to it? I loved the reading from DAy 5- just read it this morning. I had never read John 17… never had anyone preach from it or anything, and I was in amazement! Jesus starts out praying for himself, but then you see Him move to us… and what He prays! for us to have His joy, for us to be set apart, for us to be made perfect!!! for us to be with Him in glory, and for us to be able to demonstrate His love. This just amazed me… and made me really think. Another thing that I marveled at that is kind of off subject is how we receive salvation. Through accepting Him as Saviour- as if I am really enough to “accept” Him!! Thank you, Lord!
    I guess my garden tool is this- Our fruit can only grow with the divine nutrition from above, which starts with his agape for us, and extends out of the seed planted in our heart to bless all other flowers/fruits on the tree around us through the extension of that agape.

    • Jen Johns says:

      We’re so blessed to receive Jesus–the ultimate example of perfect agape! Thanks for sharing your insights on love, Lauren. You’re so right: When you really get down to it, what else is there?

  • Tammy says:

    1. Reading I Corinthians 13 out loud and replacing love with divine love or in my case agape really puts things into perspective. Knowing what agape is you can’t distort the true meaning of the words written.
    2. In Christ we are blood relatives. How should our kinship affect our relationship to one another? It should bring us closer. My husband is known to say “My church family is my family.” He feels God’s family is closer to him than his own because the ties are stronger.
    3. Proverbs 13:10 says “pride only breeds quarrels.” The last time you quarreled with someone, was any pride involved on your part? Oh definitely. My pride prevents me from ending the quarrel and sometimes actually starts the whole thing. I am not always willing to admit when I am wrong. I could definitely us a little humble fruit. 🙂
    4. Share something memorable from this week’s lesson. The whole lesson was good and there wasn’t anything in particular that stood out to me. It certainly was a great lesson for squashing any misconceptions about love. Praising God he gives us the ability to love or should I say agape everyone in our lives.

  • Michele says:

    This week’s topic spoke to me in that it seems this is most definitively the way we are to love our fellow Christians. Yet, how many times do we see this type of love more demonstratively shown to the world while we snub those in the fold. We talk about the Christian sister who is struggling. We don’t call the sister who misses a church service. We don’t offer to pray with the sister who doesn’t seem to be as spiritual as we are. Does this really sound like the agape love that I Corinthians is expressing?

  • Tonya says:

    1. Read 1 Corinthians 13 aloud. Each time you see the word “love” replace it with the words “divine love.” (agape)

    2. In Christ we are blood relatives. How should our kinship affect our relationship to one another? (page 57) we need to be in harmony with one another be sympathetic we need to love as brothers, and be compassionate and humble.

    3. Proverbs 13:10 says “pride only breeds quarrels.” The last time you quarreled with someone, was any pride involved on your part? (page 62) I had a quarrel with my mom and it has been 2 weeks ago. I could have had handled it better.

    4. Share something memorable from this week’s lesson. (we call these Garden Tools) I learned more on agape love. I was not sure what agape love was really until know.

  • Christine says:

    1. Done.

    2. In Christ we are blood relatives. How should our kinship affect our relationship to one another? We should be sympathetic, compassionate and humble with each other.

    3. Proverbs 13:10 says “pride only breeds quarrels.” The last time you quarreled with someone, was any pride involved on your part? Absolutely. I’m defensive when I know my trust is violated, so I respond with feelings of anger. I do not act upon the anger, I store it as resentment. As it continues to build, I find myself drawing away from the person that started the quarrel. Pride keeps me from accepting the faults of others. I’ve been praying for God to teach me Grace.

    4. Share something memorable from this week’s lesson. (we call these Garden Tools) I enjoyed learning the 14 characteristics of agape. I felt the power of the agape in scripture when I replaced 1 Corinthians 13 the word “love” with “divine love.”

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