What Happened to Love?
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant
--1 Corinthians 13:4
Beloved, we’ve talked about two kinds of love: Storge, meaning natural affection, and Eros—erotic love. Both of these are based on our own self interests. But today we’ll look at two more words for love; one that describes the love of friends and another that has its origins in God Himself! Remember, love is a choice! How will you choose to love?
Phileo. Friendship - It is the love of fond companionship -Kenneth Wuest defines it as a “love that is called out of one’s heart as a response to the pleasure one takes in a person or object.” Knowing the definition of “phileo” helps you understand why you can say almost in the same breath that you love chocolate, a sunset, a painting, and someone who is very special to you.
Phileo is an “I like you” kind of love that responds to kindness, appreciation, or acts of tenderness. Different than eros, it’s a love that wants to give as well as receive—and yet it doesn’t give merely in order to get. It’s not a “my happiness only” kind of love; it’s more noble than that. It’s an “I want your happiness” kind of love.
Agape. Gods unconditional Love - Agape is not kindled by merit or worth of its object; it has its origins in the nature of God Himself! God’s love gives and gives and gives—even when the loved one is unresponsive, unkind, unlovable, and unworthy.
Yet for all its value and nobility, it is a word rarely used outside of the pages of Scripture. Within the New Testament, however, it shines off the page at least 320 times. What makes this word so unique? Just this: Agape is not kindled by the merit or worth of its object; it has its origins in the nature of God Himself!
God is love—this kind of love.
It is a love that never falters or fails. It is the love that caused God to love us when we were helpless (Romans 5:5-8). It is a love that does not grow weary. Shakespeare captured the spirit of this love in one of his sonnets, when he wrote: “Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove. . . .It is an ever fixed mark.”
This, Beloved, is the love we need. This is the love our heart craves. It is the distinguishing mark of true believers through the centuries and in every culture throughout the world. Christians are known by their love. . . this kind of love. By this love, we are recognized as Jesus’ disciples.
Jesus modeled agape love for us. He is a divine plumbline dropped from heaven by which we might measure our love for others. Agape is a love that proves its existence in demonstrable activity. It’s a love that can be commanded—and obeyed. It is the love of a marriage without regrets. It is priceless. And it is a love that is available to every one of us!
Our Lord calls us to love our mates in this agape way. . .even if our marriages are no longer what they used to be. . . even if we never receive love in return.
God is love. He loved us when there was nothing to love and everything to despise. Now He has thrown open the door of His infinite storehouses of love so that you and I might experience it to the full and parcel it out to others. If we begin to understand the extent and nature of His limitless love, we may also begin to grasp how we can become better conduits of this love to those who so desperately need it. And the place to begin, of course, is with your own husband or wife.
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Kay ArthurHost, Precepts For Life
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