In John 10:10Jesus said, “…I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly”. Abundant (eternal) life here does not mean life free of adversity or physical death. In Greek, there are different words that are used to signify life. The Greek word translated “life” in the above verse is the word “Zoë” which means “excellent well-being of the human soul”. It is distinct from the word “psyche” that means, “to breathe, blow”. (Gen. 7:2b). Zoë therefore is more than a mere existence (to be alive); it is about how fulfilled a human soul feels to be alive.
Zoë, therefore, is a wholistic well-being that stems from the fulfillment of our physiological, psychological and spiritual needs; this life starts in this world and spills over to eternity.
“Kingdom of God” is another phrase for Zoë, it underpinned Jesus’ mission on earth. In fact, this was His signature phrase. According to Apostle Paul, the Kingdom of God is all about living a life full of love, peace and joy (Romans 14:17).
Zoë is a direct product of agape – God’s love. In 1John 4:8 John the beloved said God is Love. This means agape is God’s DNA. Simply put, agape is the fruit of the Holy Spirit; a divine fruit that gives and sustains life with material, mental and spiritual nutrients.
Agape comes only from God and can only be sustained by God’s self-existence. Agape is not God’s invention but part of God Himself. Being God’s part of Himself Agape is the best damn thing God can possibly give away.
Agape changes perspectives and rearanges priorities. She makes you like the very things you once hated and hate those you used to like.
If truth is to be told, Zoë is what we all need. In whatever we do our ultimate aim is to enjoy our living. In the world where hatred, pain and worry are part of life agape should be your best companion. She will keep you buzzing with joy even when everything is crumbling around you. Agape makes you feel right in your soul even when everything around you seems wrong. It was the same agape that made Jesus enjoy a resounding sleep in a sinking boat while everyone else was frantic.
Agape, as cited by both Jesus and Solomon, is a spring of water of life that flows from our inner being (John 7:38; Prov. 4:23). This living water quenches our thirsty souls as it did to a Samaritan woman mentioned in the Gospel of John chapter four. Paul calls it peace that passes all understanding. It is the very thing that made Paul, though soaking in prison sewage, to be able to, “…rejoice in the Lord always….” (Phil. 4:4).
Agape is a tranquilizer with no negative side effects. It’s what made Karla Faye Tucker – a convicted murderer, former drug addict and prostitute – to bubble in laughter and joy as she laid on the execution table. Karla melted even the hardest hearts of her atheist executioners as she kept praising God even as the lethal injection was being administered right until she took her last breath.
When the rivers of agape are truly flowing you feel great at all times- yes even when every body hates you. Agape makes you like people regardless of their condition or conduct – like Jesus who forgave His tormentors even as He bled to death on the cross.
Agape defies the laws of sanity by causing a rational-minded individual to smile when his world is falling apart. It takes something special for an individual as irrational as Peter to stay calm when he is hurting. To be in distress and still love the misfits – criminals, the poor and the very people that are hurting you, for me, is the greatest of all miracles.
Agape has an exceptional feeling that defies description. In my short life I have tested a few good things but agape sensation is no equal. When you finally find this kind of Joy you won’t fancy anything else. And you don’t need to take my word for it; even Paul and Solomon arrived at the identical conclusion.
Paul achieved great things in his illustrious life. But he said everything he ever achieved was like, using his exact word, ‘dung’ compared to agape – the love introduced to him by Jesus Christ. (Phil. 3:8). In fact Paul went further and made this bold claim;
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but without the love of God (Agape), I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I have no agape , I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but end up without experiencing agape, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without agape. (1Cor. 13:1-7)
King Solomon had everything any man could possibly ask for – Beauty, riches, sex, and fame. But according to his own account Solomon was never fulfilled ( Ecclesiastes 1-12). But after finally meeting agape King Solomon found it to be more delicious and fulfilling than anything he had ever tried before.
Jesus came to introduce agape to us. He neither came to eliminate problems nor did He promise us a trouble free life. But He came to demonstrate to us how to live the life to the full regardless….!
Today may the Lord grant you the agape you so greatly deserve.