Love is all you need. Love is in the air. Love makes the world go 'round. Love hurts. Love is all I need. Until the twelfth of never, I'll still be loving you.
We hear songs about love our entire life. They shape how we define love. From the songs I've heard in my lifetime, I would have to say, "Love is intoxicating like a drug and when it fades away, life is no longer worth living."
I have also watched a million romantic comedies. From these, I must conclude, "When you really love someone, you fight a lot and misunderstand one another until that magical kiss. Then you live happily ever after.
Oh, I'm so glad that movies and songs are not the only thing that defined my definition of love.
I was blessed to be loved by two wonderful parents, to see a beautiful love between my grandmother and grandfather, and to experience God's love at church, and later personally when I became born again at age 16.
As I grew in the Lord, my definition of love began to change. I no longer believe the definitions I learned from pop songs and chick flicks.
As I studied the Bible, I discovered three Greek words (Eros, Philia, Agape) that are all translated love in the New Testament, yet their meanings are completely different. Let's explore the three loves talked about in the Word of God.
Eros love is named about the Greek idol/god Eros (called Cupid in Rome).
Eros love in the Bible refers to physical attraction, sexual desires, and romantic love. Yes, that's the love that makes us want to fall in love, get married, and raise a family.
The world likes to pretend that God is against romantic love, but that isn't true. He does restrict sex outside of marriage so that married love will be a special delight to enjoy for a lifetime.
For a great look at God's perspective on Eros, read Song of Solomon.
"Welcome to Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love," my stewardess announced to the whole plane. This bustling city is named after Philia love found in the Bible. Often translated "brotherly love," this love is a deep emotional bond seen in intimate friendships. It shows itself in care, compassion, respect, and kindness.
This is the kind of love where you like someone and like to be with them.
If you've heard, "You gotta love 'em, but you don't have to like them," the statement is false. I discovered this one day reading I Peter 1:22.
"Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love (philia) for each other, love one another deeply (agape), from the heart."
How can you like, or have affection for, other brothers and sisters in Christ?
Simply believe in Jesus and obey Him. As you press into Him, He will put Philia in your heart. You will find yourself having affection for the most unusual people.
Both Eros and Philia are emotional. You want to be with the people you love and enjoy their company. Agape is a little different.
Agape love is the highest, most perfect kind of love. It does not seek it's own, but hopes all things, believers all things, bears all things, and never fails. It lays its life down for the beloveds. It serves, sacrifices, and pours out so that others will be blessed without seeking repayment of any kind.
Agape love is unconditional and sacrificial.
Only Jesus fully loves with agape love. We see in clearly demonstrated in His life, death, and resurrection. He laid aside His glory to take on human flesh. He endured scorn from those He knit together in their mothers' wombs. He came to serve, not to be served. He washed the disciples smelly feet.
He took on our sins and the sins of the whole world and died in our place. He suffered the wrath of God that we deserved so we could be treated as royalty in the Kingdom of Heaven.
We gaze on that love with wonder. We long to love like Jesus, but it's impossible.
Only as we surrender and abide in Jesus and He lives His life through us by the power of the Holy Spirit will we be able to truly love (agape) others.
At the beginning of my blog, I talked about the love songs I heard growing up. Now, I want to share some songs with you that are about this true agape love. Enjoy!