Most of us know that there is more than one word for “love” used in New Testament Greek. These “Four Loves,” as C.S. Lewis famously named them, each carry a specific dimension of love in their definition. Friendship, passion, brotherly love and God’s love all have unique words used to describe them.
Author Michael Harper wrote, “Eros (friendship or passionate) love is love for the beautiful. Agape love (God’s self-giving) love is love for the ugly as well as the beautiful. Eros is love for the good. Agape loves the bad and evil also. Eros is love for the friendly. Agape is love also for one’s enemies. Eros arises from within man himself, distorted by original sin and so can be self-deceiving. Agape arises within the heart of God and has its source only in Him, and so is pure and uncontaminated by the pride of man.”
When a Christian man or woman comes to me and says, “I don’t love my spouse anymore,” I give them the bad news: You have to. The Bible commands you to love you spouse. “But she doesn’t love me back.” Is he a believer? Then you have to love him because he’s your brother or sister. “But he doesn’t act kindly like a brother or sister.” Then you have to love him because he’s your neighbor. “But he hates me. He does things to aggravate me and doesn’t consider my feelings. HE acts like my enemy. Then you have to love him because Jesus said, “Love your enemies. Pray for those who despise you.” Folks, it takes supernatural, God-initiated, agape love to pull that off! Naturally, we withdraw our love when we are not getting what we need. Supernaturally, we keep loving (agape) anyway.
And as we do that, we live… and love… as overcomers.
FOR MEDITATION: He who does not love does not know God for God is love. 1 John 4:8
FOR REFLECTION: Is your expression of love something that helps others see that you know God?