As I was preparing this passage for a Bible study I was reminded of the true meaning of God’s agape love. Perhaps the best definition I have seen is this. “God’s agape love is seeking the best interests of others.” It does mean love for the undeserving, the unworthy, the unattractive and can even be extended to loving one’s enemies by the grace of God. 

We know that God loves the world, as John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Or as the 1 John 4 passage puts it, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10.  The love of God became manifest in Jesus when He came into this world to enable us to live. He did this by dying for the sins of the world and inviting us to allow Him to enter our lives by accepting Him as our Saviour and Lord. The picture in Revelation 3:20 of the Risen Christ knocking at the door of our human hearts and inviting us to open the door to Him, remains a very vivid part of my own conversion. 

One of the questions in the Study Book we were using was this, “How have you seen God’s love demonstrated through other Christians?” I thought of many believers I have known who did show forth the love of God in their lives. But I thought particularly of my late wife Carole who especially showed forth God’s love throughout the whole 60 years I knew her before her death. It was seen in the way she devoted herself to ministry to children and young girls in Sunday School teaching and leading youth groups and Girl Guides. Then later after finishing University and Teachers College I saw her total commitment to her students in her teaching career as she sought their best interests in encouraging them to reach their full potential as scholars or athletes. I saw the affection in which she was held by many of her students at the High School where she was the Physical Education teacher, when so many turned up at our wedding to wish her well. 

Sometimes though, people fail to recognise the motivation behind what we do. I remember that when Carole was retiring and was being farewelled at her TAFE College, a very senior official of TAFE NSW surprised everyone by turning up and wishing to speak. He spoke glowingly of her work in TAFE when he had been her immediate supervisor and then as she became the Senior Head Teacher of the largest TAFE section of its kind in Australia. He said that she had the unique ability to network upwardly with her superiors, horizontally with her staff and colleagues and downwards with her students and other employees. That was undoubtedly true judging by the number of awards she received for her leadership in TAFE. But I felt there was a deeper reason. What motivated Carole was agape love [God’s love], as she sought the best interests of everyone in her circle of influence. That meant seeking the best interests of her superiors by making them look good when her section was running well. It meant seeking the best interests of her staff by encouraging them to do the courses that would enhance their teaching and by making the timetable as most convenient as possible for every teacher. It meant too seeking the best interests of her students by making their studies as profitable as possible and encouraging each student to strive to do their best. Her “networking ability” came from the agape love of God in her heart.

How blessed it has been to be married to someone who was always motivated by God’s love in their heart. I cannot think of anything that Carole ever said or did that was selfish, in the almost 54 years of our married and family life together. I had “an excellent wife” as the writer of Proverbs reminds us, “An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. 11  The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 12  She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.”  Proverbs 31:10-12. She certainly “did me good” all the days of our lives together! [Carole Holbeck, nee Tapsell, born this day 07 February 1943 at Kharagpur, India and died at Wauchope near Port Macquarie on 31 October 2019.] 

Praise God that we can all be motivated by the agape love of God. It is by allowing God access into the depths of our hearts so that He can fill us with His Holy Spirit, as Paul wrote in Romans 5:5  “and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Blog No.466 posted on Tuesday 07 February 2023

About Jim Holbeck

Once an Industrial Chemist working for the Queensland Government but later an Anglican minister in Brisbane, Armidale and Sydney. Last position for eighteen years before retirement in 2006 was as the Leader of the Healing Ministry at St Andrew's Cathedral Sydney.
This entry was posted in BIBLE PASSAGE OUTLINES, Bible verses. Comments, Coping With Personal Grief, Creation, Evangelism, Faithfulness, Forgiveness, Glorification, Healing, Holy Spirit, Justification, Mental Health, Prayer, Real Life Stories, Salvation, Sanctification, spiritual warfare, Temptations, TOPICS and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to 466. SHARING GOD’S LOVE IN THIS LIFE. 1 John 4:7-16

  1. Susanne Bradley says:


  2. Dave Wilson says:

    Dead Jim, thank you for this blog as it inspires me to express my appreciation for Katrina more and more as we grow old together. Carole and you were an exemplary team in the way you ministered to the people of All Saints Church when you came for the month of November for many years to teach, preach and pastor. You were and still are a model for me to follow. We love you, Dave and Katrina

  3. Richard Harwood Smith says:

    A glowing testimony of God’s agape love and your dear wife’s response to it so clearly seen in her devotion to others …your last paragraph kindles hope in me, that I too can give God access to the depths of my heart and thus be filled with His Holy Spirit. Failure need not be final. Thank you.

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