What Love is All About
This is the month in which we celebrate Valentine’s Day. Let’s talk about LOVE. Since Love is a simple little four letter word, you’d think that its definition should be easy. Most of us feel that we understand the word. But, one of the problems that we have is that this one word has several different definitions. The Bible talks about or alludes to four types of love. They are eros, storge, philia and agape. Let’s examine each of these types of love.
Agape Love – Agape love is God’s kind of love. Another word for Agape love is charity as discussed in 1 Corinthians 13. True agape love is putting the needs of another ahead of your own needs. Agape love is a decision to love another, in spite of what your personal gain or feelings might be. An example, of course, was Jesus’ decision to obey His Father when he asked that Jesus lay down his robe in glory and be born into a sin-cursed world. Jesus knew that he would die at the hands of cruel men and women. He knew the humiliation, the pain and the momentary separation from His Father that he would experience. But because He had agape love for you and me, He did it anyway. Jesus In Matt. 26: 39 prayed, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt”. John 3: 16 says:
John 3:16 (KJV)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
That’s agape love. True agape love should be the foundation of each of the other three types of love.
Eros Love refers to physical passion; its gratification and fulfillment. It is inferred in many scriptures and is the only kind of love that God restricts to a one-man, one-woman relationship within the bounds of marriage. Some of the scriptures that refer to this type of love are:
Hebrews 13:4 (KJV)
4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
Song of Songs 1:13 (KJV)
13 A bundle of myrrh is my well beloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts.
Song of Songs 4:5-6 (KJV)
5 Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies.
6 Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.
Song of Songs 7:7-9 (KJV)
7 This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes.
8 I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples;
9 And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.
Song of Songs 8:10 (KJV)
10 I am a wall, and my breasts like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour.
1 Corinthians 7:25 (KJV)
25 Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.
Ephesians 5:31 (KJV)
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
Sex is a gift from God for married individuals only. To quote Bishop Herman L. Murray, Jr. of Full Gospel Holy Temple Church in Dallas, Texas, “Sex is a celebration of marriage, so if you are not married you do not have anything to celebrate.”
Christians seek to please Almighty God in everything we do; therefore Agape love should be the foundation of all of our behavior. This is true, even in the case of the expression of eros love. Although eros is for those who are married, it is very important that even those who are married never cross over into sinful behavior like the world does. We are careful to honor God and obey all of His ordinances.
Storge Love– Storgic love is family love, the bond among mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers. It is the natural love among kin. This is the type of love that is referred to when we use the expression “blood is thicker than water.” This is the type of love that God stirred in my heart after I was filled with the Holy Ghost. True storge love is enhanced by agape love, for once you know who Christ is, you want to assure that the family that God gave you also knows Him.
My family experience. In 1975 God began to deal with my heart and to stir up my desire to know him in a real way. About that same time, my youngest brother was involved in an auto accident and broke his neck. He became a quadriplegic, only able to minimally use his hands. He was paralyzed from mid-chest down and it absolutely broke my heart to see him in this condition. Before his accident I knew that I loved him but after his accident I found out just how much I loved him. Finding an answer for my brother’s state became the driving force of my life. I had been a nurse for about five or six years at that time, so I knew the physical problems and the wasting that his strong and healthy body would go through. I was in a Christian bookstore looking for a book on how to believe God for healing when one of the workers in that store witnessed to me about being filled with the Holy Ghost. God began to put people in my life and by March, 1975 I was saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost. My love for my brother compelled me to try to find an answer to his situation. As a result of my search for him, God saved me.
Immediately after I got saved, I called my sister and best friend. I told her about how to really live for the Lord and how to really get the victory over sin and shame. When she saw how God had blessed me to be changed, she wanted to come to my church in Dallas and see about this Holy Ghost that I was talking about. Needless to say, God saved and baptized her with the Holy Ghost, too. She is now a Missionary in the Church of God in Christ…carrying the gospel of deliverance.
After my sister got filled we both went to La Marque for my youngest brother. As brand new babes in Christ, the Lord blessed us to pray him through to the Holy Ghost. He passed away 5 years after his accident, full of the Holy Ghost.
Next on our agenda was my Mother. My sister and I prayed with her in her small back bedroom and she was filled with the Holy Ghost. My Mother passed away in 1982 and, after the funeral we were all sitting around her dining room table singing some of the songs that Cookie and I wrote. This particular song stirred up my Aunt, my Mother’s sister. Some of the words to this song were: “You Can’t Hide No You Can’t Hide, The Word Is Going To Find You And You Can’t Hide.”
After that night we went our separate ways and sometime later we got a call that Aunt Mamie was in the hospital. She had renal cancer and was near death. Cookie and I rushed to her bedside and when we walked in the room she began to cry and praise God. She let us know that she wanted to be saved. She said that the words of the song that we had sung following my Mother’s funeral haunted her. Only she remembered the words this way: “You can’t Hide, No you can’t hide, The devil’s gonna get you and you can’t hide”
Well, when Sister and I prayed with her, she repented and she was baptized with the Holy Ghost. When all was said and done, peace flooded her soul and she passed away not long after, knowing that she was saved.
Our Grandmother, both of my other brothers, and my own son, as well as other family members have also gone on to be with the Lord. God gave all of them tremendous testimonies of deliverance before He took them home. And I feel certain that when we get to Heaven, our family members will be there because we were able to witness to them about Jesus and His love.
Sister and I continue our encouragement of family members to be saved, based on our storge love for them. That storge love is rooted and grounded on agape love.
Phileo or Philia Love – Philia means close brotherly love or the love that one has for a friend. Christians are frequently exhorted to love their fellow Christians. Phileo love is a love of the affections. It is that warm feeling that one has when he is in the presence of another. It is the type of love that you have for a best friend. The Bible frequently tells us that we are to share this type of love in the church. 1 John 4: 20-21 says
20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
This scripture is letting us know that if you do not love your brother or sister with plilia love there is something lacking in you.
Do you find yourself tensing up every time Sis. Jones gets up to solo? Does Bro. Ronson rattle your nerves every time he testifies? Have you ever found yourself choosing to exit from a certain door of the church just so you do not have to speak to Sis. Suzy?
I understand that Sis. Jones might have taken your solo; that Bro. Ronson likes to testify about the sweet wife that God gave him that you wanted to marry; and even that Sis. Suzy owes you $20.00 that she refuses to pay. The Bible still tells us that we must love our brothers and sisters. If you undergird your philia love with agape love you will seek the good for your brother and sister. You will find yourself praying for even the most irritating individual.
We have to remember that Jesus loved us while we were yet in our sins. Even when we were lying, cheating, drinking, smoking, cussing, stealing, womanizing and all of the other nasty things that people do before they are saved, His love for us was agape love.
The amazing thing that happens when we undergird philia with agape love is it will change you. Your dreaded mother-in-law will become sweet. Your sorry bum of a husband will suddenly have positive virtues. Your nosy neighbor becomes a concerned and watchful citizen. We should allow the agape love of God to prevail in all that we do.
Some of you may be crying out for a change in your situation, but what you need is a change in your status. Some of you may simply need to repent of your sins and ask God to save you. Then ask Him for the Holy Ghost so you can have the power to live like He says we should. Acts 1: 8 says you shall receive power after the Holy Ghost has come upon you. Then you can have that love that flows from heart to heart and breast to breast.
1 Cor. Chapter 13 expresses pure agape love. May we all seek to allow it to reign in our lives.
1 Corinthians 13:4-13 (KJV)
4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
God bless you all.