“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
Love is a verb, noun, emotion, song, story, poem, movie, expression, and an act, yet still manages to mean something different to just about everybody from all walks of life. The word love typically gets attached to the meaning of having a feeling of strong attraction or emotional attachment. We love our parents, but we love our spouses on a different level; or at least we should!! We love food, hobbies, and other interests, but not the same way we love our parents, and not the same way we love our spouse. Love typically describes our affection for others as a sign of kindness and compassion, but once again, is not the same kind of love we have for food, not the same kind of love we have for our parents, and not the same way we love our spouse. We even love ourselves, but once again… you get the point!! The meaning of love is quite flexible and fickle. Let us look to the Word of God that holds the answers to all things pertaining to life and godliness.
There are 4 types of love mentioned in the New Testament:
1. Eros (AIR-ohs) is the Greek word for sensual or romantic love that fuels sexual desire, physical attraction, and physical love.
2. Storge (STOR-jay) is the Greek word that describes family love, the affectionate bond that develops naturally between parents and children, and brothers and sisters.
3. Philia (FILL-ee-uh) is the Greek term describes the powerful emotional bond seen in deep friendships.
4. Agape (Uh-GAH-pay) is the highest of the four types of love in the Bible. This term defines God's immeasurable, incomparable love for humankind. It is the divine love that comes from God. Agape love is perfect, unconditional, sacrificial, and pure.
Natural man is capable of the first three types of love on a very shallow level. The kind of love expressed by natural man in the simplest form is lust, attachment, and covetousness. Love is an expression of our carnal desire towards someone, or something, and is fueled by our senses of sight and emotion. People often us the expression “love at first sight” as an expression of emotion and/or attraction to their significant other. The reality of this expression is more “lust” at first sight. The love for our parents is fueled by our emotional attachment to them as we were so dependent upon them for everything from childhood to early adulthood. Even our compassion for our fellow man is fueled by emotion and a since of belonging. The love for food, money, or material things is merely a desire that fulfills our appetites to satisfy a craving. Regardless of what man loves and how he loves, his love within itself is variable and fleeting.
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”
1 John 4:16
Christianity holds the real meaning of love in its truest form. It is not based on religion, or a natural carnal desire, but a pure, true, and unconditional loving relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Love begins and sustains us with our love for God and His Beloved Son. Under our own power, we do not know how to love as we should, but Jesus does! The teachings of Christ in the Word of God properly teach us how to love biblically in the first three forms of love as a Fruit of the Spirit, but love is also a power we possess through the Holy Spirit. Only the Born-Again Believer can flow in the fourth type of love “agape” that only comes to us by God. Without agape love in our hearts and lives, we cannot love others properly. We cannot be the spouse, parent, family member, or friend, without the Love of God and His Word being the foundation by which our love is built upon.
Let us not love as the world loves. The love the world gives is fickle, fleeting, and provides no life at all. Let us, as Children of the Living God, love Jesus Christ with a complete outpouring of ourselves that allow us to receive the Love of Jesus Christ in return. The Love of Jesus is Holy, Sacrificial, and Pure. His Sacrificial Love truly surpasses all understanding and is how we may love others as Jesus Christ loves us. The Love of Christ to us, and through us, is everlasting providing life and light to all who are willing to hear and receive. Love as Christ, Love in Sacrifice, and fulfill His Great Commandment.