Excerpts from The Way of Agape
This book is written by Chuck and Nancy
Missler (mostly Nancy). It is a book about achieving personal
spiritual growth. It can be ordered online at: http://www.khouse.org
click on "visit our store" and type in "Way of Agape"
in the search box, click "Go!" and order the textbook
for $10.36. We are now the temple of the Holy Spirit as Paul
said. This book in its entirety shows just exactly how. The
excerpts show just exactly how you can transform your life
spiritually, showing you how to let God's love flow freely
Everything seemed to come to a head in 1975, the year we moved
to the San Francisco area. The boys were in a high school
that they loved, but had to give up because of the move. It
was a very difficult year for them. So they began to look
elsewhere for answers to their questions, trying to fill the
emptiness they were experiencing inside.
In addition to the boys' problems, our last baby, Michelle
was born allergic to the "entire" cow. If she drank any milk
or ate meat, cheese, jello, whey, casein--anything from the
cow--she would vomit uncontrollably and have diarrhea for
Also when Michelle was 18 months old, we discovered she was
hyperactive. We then began an incredible period of about four
years where we tried desperately to find a suitable diet that
wouldn't hype her up. She was forbidden to eat anything containing
artificial colorings, flavorings or preservatives. We even
had to withdraw apples, peaches, grapes and other fruit from
her diet because they, too, contained the natural chemicals
that cause hyperactivity. This left us with a diet consisting
of papayas, bananas, fish, lima beans, squash, spinach and
rice cakes. Try cooking for a two year old with that diet!
If that weren't enough, at the age of two Michelle began to
limp. One day she just started dragging her leg. The doctors
told us she had "a disease of the bone marrow" and if we ever
wanted her to walk again, we had to permanently keep her off
her feet and in bed for an indefinite period of time. Have
you ever tried to keep a two year old in bed for any length
of time? Imagine trying to keep a hyperactive, two year old
in bed for any length of time!
Excruciatingly Painful Time
This time in my life was excruciatingly painful, with our
marriage breaking up, our financial roller coaster ride, the
boys' problems, our continual moving and Michelle's trauma.
Many times I would go to God and ask, "Where, Lord, is this
Abundant Life I'm supposed to have as a Christian? You say
in John 10:10 that You have come so that I might have life
and that I might have it more abundantly. Oh God, where
is this life? Where is the Love You promise us in Your Word?
If You are the Answer, then why is my life so empty and so
unfulfilled? Why God, am I so miserable?"
Sometimes my feelings of unhappiness over our situation--or
Chuck's comments--would consume me and almost suffocate me.
I remember in 1975 locking myself in a darkened room and crying
and crying until I thought I would "die."
Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever kept on crying
until you thought your heart was going to burst?
That's exactly how I felt. However, since I didn't know any
other solution to my overwhelming hurts, I'd push all those
emotions deep down in my heart, lock them up tightly, force
a smile on my face, and come out to begin all over again.
I thought that by "burying my real feelings" and putting on
a smile, I'd get rid of the pain and no one would ever know
I'm convinced the world functions this way because they
have no other choice! I'm certain that without Jesus in
our lives to take away our hurts, we are all walking time
bombs, ready to explode!
The truth is, when we bury our real feelings, we never really
get rid of them; we only program them down deeper and, even
though we don't realize it at the time, those hurts eventually
begin to motivate all our actions. This is exactly what happened
Example: Cold as Ice
Often Chuck would call from the office around 7pm, after I
had already prepared a nice dinner, and say, "I'm sorry, Honey,
but I have to work late tonight. I'll probably be home around
10 or 11pm."
Immediately the buried feelings of rejection and bitterness
that I had never dealt with would be triggered and my composure
would fall apart. I couldn't seem to control how I reacted.
Those buried feelings were always right there--ready to explode.
Rather than act lovingly, as I really wanted to, my voice
automatically became "cold as ice." Even on the phone, Chuck
could feel my attitude change. He would say, "Is everything
all right, Honey? Is anything wrong?"
"No," I'd respond icily, "I'm fine!" Then, I'd furiously bang
the phone down. Anger and frustration and hurt would totally
consume me. I didn't know (at that time) that my anger was
just a symptom of a much deeper cause. Underneath my icy exterior
lay unvented rejection and hurt that I had never properly
dealt with before.
All evening long, then, rather than catch the negative thoughts
as they came into my mind (and give them to God), I continually
"mulled" them over and over. Constantly I entertained angry
thoughts about what Chuck had done. And this was the atmosphere
my poor Chuck came home to later that night. Looking back,
it's a wonder he even bothered to come home at all.
Proverbs 14:1 says, "Every wise woman buildeth her house:
But, the foolish plucketh it down with her hands." That's
exactly what I was doing, brick by brick.
I Hated Being a Phony
I knew the Bible was Truth. And over and over again in the
Bible it says we are "to love"; we are to love God, and then
we are to love others. Yet I didn't know how to do this without
being a phony. To me, a phony is one who says one thing on
the outside but feels another way on the inside. That's exactly
what I felt I was being forced into doing...
God's Love Growing Cold
Matthew 24:12 is a perfect Scripture to explain what was happening
to us, and to so many couples I see today. It says, in the
end times, "because iniquity shall abound, the love of many
shall wax cold."
The Greek word for "love" in this Scripture is Agape--God's
Love. The passage is talking about people who have God's Love
in their hearts (i.e. Christians). This Scripture is saying
that in the end times (which is now), "because sin shall abound,
the Love of Christians will grow cold." Romans 14:23 tells
us that any choice we make that is "not of faith" is sin and
will cause God's Spirit to be quenched. Thus, God's Love in
our hearts will be blocked from coming forth into our lives.
I had no conception, at this time, that God's Love was supernatural
and totally different from my own human love. I didn't realize
that God's Love could only flow through me if my heart and
life were cleansed.
I thought God's Love was poured into my heart when I first
accepted Christ, and that all I had to do was claim it and
use it. I had no idea that Agape was God Himself working
through me. And the only way He could do that was for
me to give Him a cleansed and unclogged vessel to use.
A Hopeless Situation
So without God intervening and doing something pretty radical
at this point in our lives--breaking the total deadlock (the
wall, the barrier, the pride) in one of our hearts--it was
a totally hopeless situation.
I felt like I had tried every way I knew of to change our
marriage--books, marriage counselors, seminars and other classes.
Yet nothing had worked. Neither Chuck nor I saw any other
way out of our hurts and our problems but to escape and run
I ended up making arrangements to leave Chuck...Right in the
middle of the conversation, in response to something Chuck
had said, I blurted out, "But don't you ever want to hear
what God wants to say to you?" (I meant if he would just listen
to God, God would show him how messed up his priorities were.)
Chuck's reply was something I will never forget. Four little
words that are burned into my memory forever. He simply said,
"Won't you let Him!" (Meaning, "I" was the one in the way
of hearing God!)
Well, I was completely stunned at his remark and I sat back,
speechless. I had always felt that I was the one who was "spiritual."
After all, I was the one continually in Bible studies and
prayer groups. And I was the one who had all my friends praying
for Chuck. [I feel like Chuck!]
Chuck must have sensed that he struck a sensitive cord in
me, because he began--for the first time--to tell me what
he really wanted in a wife (and I quote):
"Someone who is easy and comfortable to be with. Someone I
can just be myself with and not on guard or defensive. Someone
who makes the atmosphere one of love and acceptance, not one
of tension and judgment. Someone I can turn to for constant
companionship and support, a team mate. Someone who would
love me for myself, not for what she wanted to make me into..."
Chuck went on to say that he had always desired a family and
a home because he never really had one growing up. But, he
said, with my constant bickering and griping, I had eroded
that desire. Then I had turned around and blamed him for putting
his business before his family.
The Real Problem
So the real problem was with me, not Chuck! The problem was
my holding on to and burying hurts, negative thoughts and
emotions (justified or not) and not recognizing that those
things quenched God's Spirit in me and stopped His Love. It
was "sin" because I kept those things, entertained them, and
mulled them over rather than immediately giving them over
Having the original negative thought is not sin. It's what
we choose to do with that thought that makes it sin or not.
We have three options: We can vent that negative thought;
we can bury it; or we can give it to God.
If we can recognize the negative junk when it first comes
in and immediately give it over to God, we have not sinned.
We are still a cleansed vessel. However, if we choose to hold
on to those negative things by either venting them or mulling
them over and eventually burying them, they will become sin
and cover our hearts.
God had been in my heart all along; however, I was the one
preventing Him from coming forth and manifesting His Life
and His Love through me, because I insisted upon holding on
to my own "justified" hurt feelings. These negative things
then acted like a wall or a barrier over my heart.
So the first thing I needed to learn was "how"
to release and give these buried hurts and emotions to
God. In other words: 1) How to confess them as sin (i.e. how
to acknowledge that I "owned" them and that they had separated
me from Him.); 2) How to repent of them (i.e. how to change
my mind about following them) and, 3) How to literally give
them over to God. We will cover these steps in Chapter 14...
Example: Burnt Roast
Remember that incident I told you about earlier in this chapter
when Chuck was late for dinner? About a year later, a similar
Chuck called around 6pm and said, "Hey, Honey, I have a free
night. I'll be home around 7pm. Why don't you call the boys
and invite them over for dinner and we'll have a great evening
"Terrific," I said. I quickly put in a leg of lamb, called
the boys at their apartments and told them, "Come on over!
Dad's coming home early and we'll have an evening together."
We rarely had dinner together as a family because Chuck traveled
Seven o'clock came and went, and no Chuck! 7:30, 8, 8:30,
9, and still no Chuck. Finally, at 9:30pm, he walked in the
door--genuinely sorry. He had met some "important" businessman
as he was walking out of his office, and they had decided
to go out to dinner to talk over some business matters. He
was genuinely sorry, but he had just forgotten to call us.
Now, my "natural" emotional reaction was still the same as
it had been the year before. Remember something very important:
Self life (our own thoughts, emotions and desires that
are contrary to God's) does not improve with age! No
matter how long we have been Christians, our "self life" will
be just as ugly today as it was the first day we believed.
My natural reaction was "to tell Chuck off": My roast was
burnt to a crisp; the boys and I had wasted a whole evening
just waiting around doing nothing; and the girls had finally
given up and gone to bed. I would have certainly been justified
(by the world's standards) to be angry and upset. But God
had begun to show me a better way; a "more excellent way"
to respond and to love.
All night long as I was waiting for Chuck, instead of being
consumed in anger and frustration, I kept choosing, as best
as I could, to give these things to God so I could stay an
open and cleansed vessel for His Love. I didn't bury my real
feelings like I once did or pretend they weren't there. I
just kept recognizing them as they came up and verbally handing
then over to God, thus allowing His Love, which was already
in my heart, to come forth.
Let me tell you it's hard work, constantly choosing not to
go by your own feelings. But how excited and thrilled I was
when at 9:30pm it was God's genuine, supernatural, unconditional
Love that met Chuck at the door and not my normal human responses.
I really felt no bitterness or anger or frustration over what
had happened, because God had literally taken them all
away. Chuck and I were able to sit down and talk freely
and openly about what he had done. [Note: There definitely
is a time to "take a stand" and tell the other person how
you are feeling. But we should only do this when we are clean
vessels. Otherwise, we end up deeper in the pits than when
we started. When we are cleansed vessels, the encounter will
be done in God's Love. Then not only will the "lover" be freed
from presumptions and expectations, but also the "one being
loved" will respond from his heart and not his defenses.]...
There is so much freedom in this way of loving. I am no longer
responsible for how Chuck thinks, what he says, or what he
chooses to do. I am totally aware of those areas that need
changing, and I will continue to pray earnestly about them
and will share them with Chuck as God leads. But my responsibility
is not to try to control and fix those areas, but only to
be that conduit for God's Love and love Chuck as he is
(the whole package). However, the minute I stop looking
to the Lord to meet my needs and stop being an open channel
for His Love, it never fails--I grab hold of Chuck, and once
again, we both sink.