What is the Highest form of Love?
What Is Love
People yearn to be loved, and they seek diligently to find someone to pour their love into.
Some never find true love, and they wonder why.
This article will address the question; 'What is love?'
Love Is Elusive
Love is the major theme of many a conversation wherein experiences are shared and described in various ways and at different levels. Love is colored with hues of beauty, pain, exhilaration and more; But love is obscure. How can one define love? Love is an elusive term that is subject to many interpretations.
To study the various meanings, shades and degrees of the word love, I'd like to present a very brief and simplistic study of the root Greek word(s) for love. The manifestations of love discussed here will reveal itself in three different forms ranging from a base self-indulgence to a holy and sacrificial gift.
In the original Greek, there are three different words used to explain our one word for love. We say I love peanut butter, I love my dog, I love my husband, I love the color purple and so on. Obviously, the English word for love has many interpretations. I would like to examine this oft' misunderstood word carefully and reveal three different forms or levels of love.
Three Forms of Love
The three Greek words for love are Eros, Phileo, and Agape. Most people will identify with the first two forms of Love; Eros and Phileo. The third type of love is the greatest and highest form. Agape love gives without expecting anything in return, it is sacrificial and never gives up. If you have been loved with an Agape, love you are blessed beyond measure.
Sadly, there are people who live their whole lives and then die without ever knowing, experiencing or being touched by Agape Love. God loves His children with an Agape love. Those who do not know God know nothing of the Agape love He has for His children. God calls His children to learn to love Him and others with the same Agape love.
"So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other." John 13:34
To love someone with an Eros type of love is to be powerfully and irresistibly drawn to them physically and sexually in an erotic way. It is what some people call chemistry. Romantic love is most often spearheaded by an Eros Love.
Eros is the basest type of love. If Eros alone (apart from phileo or agape) is directed toward another - it is entirely self-centered, self-indulgent and does not require a relationship with the person. In a marriage, the person who receives Eros love alone will sooner or later feel used - like an object whose sole purpose is to fulfill their spouse's pleasure.
NOT MEANT TO STAND ALONE
Eros love was never meant to stand alone or apart from the other two forms of love. Eros by itself will not hold up under pressure, and it is subject to the many whims and emotional shifting of life. Eros satisfies itself and does not go beyond its selfish hunger and pleasure.
FRIENDSHIP AND LOYALTY
A Phileo type of love (friendship love) adds value to a relationship. It possesses affection and a genuine loyalty for another.
Phileo love holds a sincere appreciation for the personhood of the one loved. Phileo love is drawn toward the character and commonality of values you share with a cherished friend.
Another definition for a firm Phileo love is the acknowledgement of 'a kindred spirit' with another. There is great comfort and camaraderie when you share values and ideas. A sense of fulfilment comes when there's an acceptance and a knowing that you are loved just the way you are warts and all.
I have a friend who created a beautiful wall hanging for me. The wall hanging included this very touching quote which represents the depth and comfort of sharing a Phileo Love.
"Oh, the comfort --
The inexpressible comfort of feeling
safe with a person,
Having neither to weigh thoughts,
Nor measure words -- but pouring them
All right out -- just as they are --
Chaff and grain together --
Certain that a faithful hand will
Take and sift them --
Keep what is worth keeping --
and with the breath of kindness
Blow the rest away."
Love must come to life through your words if you wish to feel understood by the one you care for. Do not wait to tell those you cherish what they mean to you.
"Do not keep the alabaster box of your friendship sealed up until your friends are dead.
Fill their lives with sweetness.
Speak approving, cheering words
while their ears can hear them,
and while their hearts
can be thrilled and made happier.
The kind of things you
mean to say when they are gone,
say before they go."
By George W. Childs
A Friend's a Friend Forever
A real friend is a friend forever. A true friend is loyal to you; this friend is one in whom your heart rests and safely trusts. A phileo friend can be trusted with your reputation, dreams, and deepest secrets, she/he accepts you right where you are yet is also faithful to tell you the truth no matter how hard it may be.
To have a true friend, one must first prove to be a true friend. The treasures of a Phileo friendship is one of the greatest rewards on earth.
Friends are Friends Forever by Michael W. Smith
John and Stasi Eldredge Quote
"A mother's heart is a vast and glorious thing. My mother's heart was expansive, having been enlarged by suffering and years of clinging to Jesus while being misunderstood, dismissed, and judged by those she loved most. Me included. It had cost her to love, had cost her much to mother. It always does. But she would tell you that it's worth it, that there is no other way."
Cracking the communication code between husband and wife involves understanding one thing: that unconditional respect is as powerful for him as unconditional love is for her. It's the secret to marriage that every couple seeks, and yet few couples ever find.
Just as people have unique personality preferences, we all have unique love languages. Your love language is the way that you most feel loved and cared for. The problem is most people love the way they want to be loved and miss meeting their partners needs. Learn to speak your partner's love language.
The greatest and highest form of love. Agape love transcends all others. It is a love that is not merely a response to affection. It is not dependent on the other person to love you in return for your love.
Agape love goes beyond what is considered natural. A beautiful and convicting definition of Agape love is found in the Bible. Read these very expressive and descriptive words used to convey what Agape love looks like.
DESCRIPTION FROM GOD'S WORD
The passage in I Corinthians 13 portrays Agape love in descriptive terms such as;
- love is patient and kind and forgiving
- Love is not easily angered
- it is not selfish
- never keeps a record of wrongs.
- Love protects its loved one
- it always trusts
- it always hopes for the best
- it just keeps on giving.
AGAPE LOVE IS A CHOICE
In today’s world, there are not many living within the sacred bonds of marriage are courageous and self-sacrificing enough to choose to love their spouse with an Agape love. When the feelings go awry or disappointment sets in the expressions and sacrificial acts of love cease.
In fact, to illustrate how far we have deviated from Agape love, we find that many people sign a prenuptial agreement before they will even commit to marriage. The fear of being betrayed or the false belief that one can fall 'out of love' is what motivates a prenuptial loophole.
In a 'me first' generation Agape love is a rarity more precious than gold. Agape love is a choice we make - it is not a feeling, and it is not dependent upon circumstances. No matter what may happen - Agape love remains. Agape love is a commitment one consciously makes to invest in the person he or she has made a sacred vow to. An agape love requires a deliberate decision to stand by your loved one, for better or for worse.
Agape love requires self-sacrifice with a desire to help your loved be the best they can be. Agape love studies their beloved to really know his/her needs. To love someone in the Apape way means to set aside your personal wants and needs, to bring joy to the one you have committed your heart and life.
As you study your beloved, you will uncover a treasure house of information to nurture your relationship. Do you know what he/she prefers? What does she like or love? What is her favorite color, flower or food? What makes her/him feel happy or loved?
AGAPE LOVE GROWS WHEN NURTURED
Agape love, when nurtured in marriage, will grow through the years and become stronger no matter the hardships or circumstances. When a spouse or relationship is ignored or taken for granted; make no mistake that love WILL wither up and die. Though Agape love expects nothing in return the natural response, to being loved in this way, is a softening of heart which lovingly receives the trust, honor, admiration and devotion that flows out of the core of the one who gives Agape love.
AGAPE LOVE IN PARENTING
In the role of parent, you will surely be tested as you raise your children. Will you study and invest in your child? God put him/her in your home for a reason. It is a high and holy charge to be entrusted with a child's life. As a Mother, I have been tested, as if by fire. A Mother's heart once tested to its limit and found to be unshaken can proclaim that she holds Agape love for her child.
GOD IS AGAPE LOVE
Agape love comes from God. Though Agape love is a choice, it is also supernatural and an acknowledgement that we need God to enable us to love so deeply, purely and sacrificially. God is the Glue that keeps a marriage together. Love that withstands the storms of life is a love built on the Lord Jesus Christ. We love because He first loved us. "For God so loved the world, that He GAVE His one and only Son, (Jesus) so that whoever believed would not perish, but have everlasting love."
Talk about Agape love - God is Agape love! He is the very essence and originator of love. God did not owe His creation anything - we ALL, in fact, have turned our backs on Him - yet, while we were yet in our sins, Christ died for us ... paying the penalty for sin (death) and restoring our relationship with Father God. God is Agape love. He gave His all for us.
Eros + Phileo + Agape = Intimacy
The expression of Eros love when combined with the other two and within the bonds of marriage can be a beautiful outpouring of a deep intimacy between husband and wife. It is a rare, holy and pure love that has learned that self-indulgence or satisfaction is never enough but when phileo and agape are intertwined purposefully and carefully with eros, it is magnificent.
Bible Quotes on Love
“You have heard that it was said, ’You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be sons of your Father, who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust…” ~ Jesus the Christ (Matthew 5:43-5)
“ … Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” ~ Joshua the son of Nun (Joshua 22:5)
“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” ~ Simon Peter, the son of Jonah of Bethsaida(1 Peter 3:8)
“For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” ~ Paul of Tarsus (Romans 5:7-9)
Agape Love Rises Above
Agape love rises above every hindrance as it reaches out in self-sacrifice. Agape love does not get hindered by the everyday stresses of life, and it defeats the best of arguments and reasoning. It looks beyond imperfections and beholds, nurtures, sacrifices, and commits to the object of its love.
Agape love is revered as the rarest, purest and holiest of all loves.
QUOTES ON AGAPE LOVE
"If the first mark of a whole and a living church is love, the second is suffering. The one is naturally consequent on the other. A willingness to suffer proves the genuineness of love." John Stott
"Genuine love is so contrary to human nature that its presence bears witness to an extraordinary power." John Piper
"To love as Christ loves is to let our love be a practical thing and not a sentimental thing." Sir Charles Villiers Stanford
Love is a Verb
- Love is a Verb: Stories of What Happens When Love Comes Alive - Kindle edition by Gary Chapman. Reli
Love is a Verb: Stories of What Happens When Love Comes Alive - Kindle edition by Gary Chapman. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading Love is
- What Is Love In The Bible?
Ron's insightful Hub on Love In the Bible is written with such clarity - he's a gifted teacher! Excerpt: "English has only one word for love, leading to confusion. But New Testament Greek uses four different words, storge, phileo, eros and agape"