Love isn’t just some human concept, but is sourced in the one true God.
This Greek term is the term used to describe God’s love for us. It is also used to describe the kind of love we are to have for others. First, let’s look at agape in terms of how God loves us.
God’s love for us is not based on us, but is instead based on Him. From God’s perspective there is nothing loveable about us. On the surface it seems harsh and unkind, but wrapped up in His agape love there is a love more pure than any love we could ever find anywhere on this earth. God loved us while we were still sinners, and because of His love He sent His Son to do what we could not, redeem us. Agape is sacrificial, and not based on feelings.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19
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: 10
God commands us to love one another with an agape love. We see this fully in 1 John 4: 7-21.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 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. 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. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Loving others, especially those who have hurt us through hate spewed words of slander, 1 John 4 7-21 is hard to swallow. But God loves us with that kind of love, and who are we to say that we can’t love others with an agape kind of love. Did we do anything to deserve God’s love? NO! Not a single thing. When we can forgive people for hurts, we are no longer bound by those hurts, but instead exchange those hurts for love that can only come from God. It’s a struggle. I know. I’m in that battle now. It’s much easier to want God to pay people back from the vile things people do to us. It hurts even deeper when it’s a fellow Christian. Remember friend, God doesn’t hurt us, satan, who is the great deceiver, wants nothing more than to hurt us, and he’ll use whoever he can to cast false accusations against us, even other Christians, even ourselves. How do we overcome those hurts driven into our very souls? LOVE: a pure, undefiled love. It can only come from the perfect source of love: God.
I know it’s hard. I’m in the same place right now. Here is a prayer for you, from me. And will you pray for me too? Thank you.
Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for my friend. Help him or her to release all the feelings of hurt at the base of the Cross of Christ. Help him or her to do this, not for the other person, but for them, in order that any bitterness can and will not stand between them and You. Help them to love the unloveable, as You have loved us; unconditionally. Help them to throw off all that which encumbers them from receiving complete Freedom in Christ. Walk with them daily. Break the chains of bitterness and hurt. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Ah, brotherly love.
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Romans 12:10
We are supposed to love one another with a friendly love. Do you love your friends truly that way?
One of the best examples in Scripture of phileo love is found in the Old Testament (Okay, I know the OT’s original language is not Greek, but this is the best example of phileo love in Scripture.) David and Jonathan were best friends. They were affectionate toward another, but not is a sexual way, but in a brotherly way (1 Samuel 18:1-3). David wasn’t jealous of Jonathan, and Jonathan certainly wasn’t jealous of David, although Jonathan knew he would never become king, because God’s plan was for David to be king.
Passionate love. This is the type of love a married couple, one man, one woman, is should have for one another. Eros is where we get the term erotic.
Eros can be abused when sexual immorality is the problem. Sexual Immorality is a sin and doesn’t please God.
Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 1 Corinthians 6:18
A recently released movie, Fifty Shades of Grey, is causing extreme controversy and it rightly should. This is a perfect example of the wrong type of eros. I haven’t read the book, nor will I go see the movie. It’s not what I want imprinted in my thoughts or mind’s eye. It is the wrong picture of what God intended between a man and a woman.
If you’re interested in reading what eros love should be within a marriage go read Song of Solomon.
I’ll leave you with a prayer from Scripture:
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21
*Another love in the Koine Greek language is: Storge. It is the love between relatives. I chose not to mention it in more detail.
Come back tomorrow to read a little on wisdom from God’s Word on the topic of LOVE for this month’s edition of Wednesday Wisdom.