The past two weeks I have talked about the first two words I recently got when thinking and praying about how to wrap up the year – I wrote about Peace, then about Joy. As you can see by the title, this week is about Love. Last weekend when I went to my church’s candlelight service, my pastor was talking about the Christmas season and several times mentioned Peace, Joy and Love, so I guess I am in good company discussing these topics; and they fit right in with this special season of the year. So here we go…
“You are far more loved than you will ever know. And that’s the Christmas story…love has come down for us” (Author Unknown)
As of today, we have just exited the season where love seems to be front and center – especially for those that are Christians. Christmas is a time of celebration for an event that changed the world – an event that exhibited God’s deep love for us all – the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ – His gift to mankind.
Love is a power-packed word – a word that is bantered about very carelessly by many people too much of the time. I believe that as Christians it is very important for us to have a clear understanding of the word love, so I did some research and here is some of what I found:
“The Bible says that God is love and that humans crave love from the moment of existence. But the word love describes an emotion with vastly differing degrees of intensity.”
“Four unique forms of love are found in Scripture. They are communicated through four Greek words (Eros, Storge, Philia, and Agape) and are characterized by romantic love, family love, brotherly love, and God’s divine love.”
“Eros (Pronounced: AIR-ohs) is the Greek word for sensual or romantic love…God is very clear in the Bible that eros love is reserved for marriage.”
“Storge (Pronounced: STOR-jay) is a term for love in the Bible that you may not be familiar with. This Greek word describes family love, the affectionate bond that develops naturally between parents and children, and brothers and sisters…Christians are members of God’s family. Our lives are knit together by something stronger than physical ties—the bonds of the Spirit. We are related by something more powerful than human blood—the blood of Jesus Christ. God calls his children to love each other with the deep affection of storge love.”
“Philia (Pronounced: FILL-ee-uh) is the type of intimate love in the Bible that most Christians practice toward each other. This Greek term describes the powerful emotional bond seen in deep friendships…Philia is the most general type of love in Scripture, encompassing love for fellow humans, care, respect, and compassion for people in need. The concept of brotherly love that unites believers is unique to Christianity. Jesus said philia would be an identifier of his followers: ‘By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.’ (John 13:35, NIV)”
“Agape (Pronounced: 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.” **
Our entire life is a journey of love. When we are born into this world, we first receive “storge” love from our family. Then we begin to expand our circle to include friends and will experience the “philia” love. From there we mature and reach a time in our life where we hopefully will meet another person that will be our life partner, at which time we can then experience “eros” love. But, somewhere along the way, we hopefully will have an encounter with the living God and we will reach out to accept that gift of “agape” love. The ideal would be to have that “agape” love so permeate our being that it causes all those other loves in our life to fully blossom and fill us with peace and joy indescribable.
“Love sought is good, but given unsought is better.” William Shakespeare
A man named Paulo Coelho said this: “Love is just a word until someone comes along & gives it meaning.”
I believe that we can relate that statement by Coelho to God coming along and giving it meaning by presenting His Son as the ultimate gift to us all – but we must reach out and accept that gift. Keep in mind that a gift that is not received, is no gift at all. If we wish to truly experience God’s agape love, we must accept Jesus Christ – our ultimate gift. What we then do with that love – how we express it to others – is critically important.
The word “love” is used so much in the Bible that it would take many pages for me to try to list all the passages that might be inspirational. So, I am going to list just a few for encouragement during this season of peace, joy and love:
1 John 4:10-11 (NLT) “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.” (David Jeremiah regarding these verses says: “God sacrificed His Son to love us—what have we sacrificed to love others? Have we sacrificed anger, pride, resentment, material goods, time, self-interest?..Since God sacrificed for us—and indeed He did—we ought to sacrificially love others as well.”).
1 John 3:1a (ERV) “The Father has loved us so much! This shows how much he loved us: We are called children of God. And we really are his children.”
Psalm 136:1 (ERV) “Praise the Lord because he is good. His faithful love will last forever.”
Psalm 33:20-22 (GNT) “We put our hope in the Lord; he is our protector and our help. We are glad because of him; we trust in his holy name. May your constant love be with us, Lord, as we put our hope in you.”
Matthew 22:37-39 (ERV) “Jesus answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and most important command. And the second command is like the first: Love your neighbor the same as you love yourself.’”
1 John 4:19-21 (ERV) “We love because God first loved us. If we say we love God but hate any of our brothers or sisters in his family, we are liars. If we don’t love someone we have seen, how can we love God? We have never even seen him. God gave us this command: If we love God, we must also love each other as brothers and sisters.”
1 John 3:16-17 (MSG) “This is how we’ve come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves. If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear.”
Written by Karran Martin – December 18, 2021
** The paragraphs in italics are direct quotes from an article I read about the four types of love found in the Bible. This is the link: https://www.learnreligions.com/types-of-love-in-the-bible-700177
5 thoughts on “LOVE”
Thanks so much for the very kind words of encouragement Susa! Thanks for reading!
Thanks to you Leta! I appreciate your faithfulness in reading my ramblings & your encouragement!
What a beautiful, intellectually written post. I adore your research, your heart and for what you give to all that read your posts. Thank you so much for your love and care. XO
Susa, thank you for such kind & encouraging words. Thank you for reading!