Loving like Jesus

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What if?...We love like Jesus

Love is one of the most powerful emotions humans can experience or express. During the course of our lives, we communicate/show love in many different ways and with different levels of intensity depending on the person (object) at the receiving end of that love. We use the word love to describe how we feel about people, places and things (I love my husband… I love that book… I love Montreal etc)

As Christian believers, love is a test of genuine faith. Jesus said to his disciples "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13 34:35)

Throughout the bible, we discover how to experience love in its many forms and to share it with others as God intended.

The four main types of love represented in the Greek language are:  EROS –STORGE – PHILIA- AGAPE.

EROS (Pronounced: AIR-ohs) is the Greek word for sensual or romantic love. The term originated from the mythological Greek god of love, sexual desire, physical attraction, and physical love. This is the type of love to be shared between husband and wife and was designed by God in Genesis when he created man and woman and said go forth and multiply. Within the boundary of marriage, eros love is to be celebrated and enjoyed as a beautiful blessing. However, this type of love can become sinful if used outside the boundaries of holy matrimony.  Eros love is more about personal need and personal feelings, because this type of love is all about self it can easily become sinful if used outside of its purpose. An example in the bible would be Paul’s speech to the Corinthians.

Promiscuity of all types was rampant in ancient Greek culture and was one of the obstacles the apostle Paul had to battle when planting churches. Paul warned young believers against giving in to immorality: "So I say to those who aren’t married and to widows—it’s better to stay unmarried, just as I am. But if they can’t control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It’s better to marry than to burn with lust." (1 Corinthians 7:8–9).

STORGE (Pronounced STOR-jay) is the Greek word for family love, the affectionate bond that develops naturally between parents and children, brothers and sisters. This is the most natural love. It pays less attention to self and is given whether or not the person is worthy. It just loves.

Examples in the bible would be the love shown by Martha and Mary for their brother Lazarus (John 11: 1-44) or by the love and concern shown by Jairus for his sick daughter (Luke 8: 41-56).

Romans 12:10 commands us to be devoted one to another with brotherly affection. As Christians, we may not be connected by physical (family) ties but we have an even greater bond in the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  We are all members of God’s family and therefore we must love each other with the deep affection of storge love. Some of the people in the bible who displayed the absence of storge love would be Cain when he lured and murdered his brother Abel (Genesis 4: 8-11) and Joseph’s brothers who out of jealous sold him into slavery (Genesis 37: 18-36)

PHILIA (Pronounced FILL-ee-uh) This Greek word describes the powerful emotional bond that comes with deep friendships.  Philia originated from the Greek word phílos, a noun meaning beloved, dear…Philia demonstrates a love for fellow humans, care, respect, compassion, empathy, sympathy.  Jesus said philia would be an identifier of his followers when he said that by our love for one another people would know that we are his disciples.

Jesus showed this type of brotherly love when he saw Mary weeping over the death of her brother Lazarus. Jesus wept. (John 11: 35). When Jesus wept, the people standing nearby said “see how he loved him!” (John 11:36).

When we have brotherly love, we have more positive emotions. Loving friendships help us through the hard times.

AGAPE (Pronounced Uh-GAH-pay) is the highest of the four types of love in the bible. This word describes God’s immeasurable, incomparable love for us (mankind). Agape love is perfect, unconditional, sacrificial and pure.  This is shown in John 3:16. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 

This type of love is given whether or not the giver receives the same level of love in return.  It is without self-benefits and the greatest love of all.

Agape is best described by Paul. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV)

Although loving each other with agape love may seem unattainable given our human weaknesses, agape is a worthy goal that we must work towards attaining in our daily (lifelong) journey, through our words and actions.

After all, it is through love that we allow God to abide in us (1John 4:12) and through love that we make ourselves known to the world as Christ’s disciples.

God bless!

Pastor Denise

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