What Is the Highest Form of Love?
What Is Love
People yearn to be loved. We diligently seek to find true love.
Some never find true love, and they wonder why. Love seems elusive and confusing. Just when you think you have found it, a major flaw is uncovered. It is a wise person who takes time to study the one he/she has set his/her heart upon. In time, the character of a person is revealed.
This article will address the question, 'What is love?'
Love Is Elusive
Love is the major theme of many conversations. People get excited about the topic as they share thoughts and experiences related to love. If love was a color it would possess hues of rapture tempered in shades of pain.
In this writing, I'd like to present a very brief and simple study of the root Greek word(s) for love. These definitions range from base self-indulgence to a holy and sacrificial gift.
In the original Greek, there are three different words used to explain the English 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 but the Greek description is specific.
Three Types 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, Agape is the greatest and highest form. 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
Eros is what some call chemistry. Eros was the Greek God of love and sexual desire. Romantic love is often spearheaded by Eros Love.
EROS - PHYSICAL
To love with Eros's love is to be irresistibly drawn to the physical. It is the love of the body. If love is based on Eros alone (apart from Phileo or Agape) it is entirely self-centered, self-indulgent and does not require a relationship. In a marriage, the person who receives Eros's love alone will feel used like an object whose sole purpose is to fill their spouse's desires.
NOT MEANT TO STAND ALONE
Eros's love was never meant to stand alone or apart from the other two forms of love. Eros by itself will never hold up under pressure, and it is subject to the many whims and emotional shiftings of life. Eros (apart from the other two) satisfies itself and does not go beyond its own hunger and self-pleasure.
FRIENDSHIP AND LOYALTY
A Phileo love (friendship love) adds value to a relationship. It possesses affection and loyalty.
Phileo love holds a sincere appreciation for personhood. Phileo love is based on the character and commonality of values with a cherished friend.
Phileo love shares a kindred spirit. There is camaraderie in shared values. There is a keen knowledge that you are loved just the way you are, warts and all.
True friends are those who really know you but love you anyway. ~ Edna Buchanan
The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Do not keep the alabaster boxes of your love and tenderness 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 by them. ~ Henry Ward Beecher
A FRIEND'S A FRIEND FOREVER
A Phileo friend is a friend forever. One in whom your heart rests. A Phileo friend can be trusted with your reputation, dreams, and deepest secrets. She/he accepts you right as you are, yet is also faithful to tell you the truth no matter how bad that truth wounds. While an enemy may shower you with compliments while harboring ulterior motives.
"Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy." Proverbs 27:6
The treasure of a Phileo friendship is one of the greatest blessings on earth.
Friends are Friends Forever by Michael W. Smith
Agape love is the highest form of love. It transcends all others. This love is not dependent on the other person to do or to be anything.
Agape love goes beyond the natural. A beautiful and convicting definition of Agape love is found in the Bible. Read these descriptive words.
DESCRIPTION FROM GOD'S WORD
The Love Chapter - I Corinthians 13
- Love is patient
- it is kind
- Love is forgiving
- It is not easily angered
- Love is not selfish
- It never keeps a record of wrongs.
- Love protects its loved one
- It always trusts
- Love always hopes for the best
- It just keeps on giving.
AGAPE LOVE IS A CHOICE
In today’s world, who chooses Agape love? It is a choice, you know. Our feelings are not stable. We live in a 'me first' generation. In most relationships, when feelings go awry or disappointment sets in, all expressions and sacrificial acts of love cease.
In our times, we have drifted from Agape love. Many couples sign a prenuptial agreement before committing to marriage. The fear of being betrayed or the false belief that one can fall 'out of love' motivates the perceived need for a prenuptial loophole.
Agape love is a rarity more precious than gold. Agape love is not dependent upon circumstances. No matter what happens - Agape love remains. Agape love is a deliberate commitment to pour into the person you have vowed to love for better or for worse.
Agape love is self-sacrificing. Agape love studies to perceive needs. It sets aside personal wants and needs. It invests in building up and adding value. Agape love looks beyond imperfections and beholds nurtures, sacrifices, and commits to the object of its love.
AGAPE LOVE IN PARENTING
You will surely be tested as a parent. Will you study and invest in your child? God put your child in your home for a reason. He charges you and equips you to be a parent to the child he places in your home. It is a high and holy charge to be entrusted with a child's life. As a Mother, I have been tested, as by fire. A Mother's heart once tested to its limit and found unshakable proclaims she holds Agape love for her child.
GOD IS AGAPE LOVE
Agape love comes from God. Agape love is a choice to be pursued. It is supernatural and requires an acknowledgment of our need for God. Only God can 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." John 3:16
God is Agape love! He is the 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.
Agape love is the rarest, purest and holiest of all loves.
A Personal Note
As I re-read this blog, I am keenly aware of how far short I fall in the I Corinthians love department.
I would never want my readers to think I've got this down pat. In fact, to be honest with you, my husband Gary is much closer to an Agape love for me than I am to loving him. I am a blessed woman!
God gives us his descriptor of love in I Corinthians 13. As we read His word, a light searches the depths of our soul. It reminds us of our complete inability to measure up. Our Agape God forgives ... his grace is greater than all of our weaknesses.
The love chapter gives us a way to evaluate our growth and align our desires with God's desires for us. May God enable us to love as he created us to love.
"I can do all things, through Christ, who gives me strength". Phil 4:13
"apart from me, you can do nothing." John 15:5c
God tells us to say connected to the vine (Jesus) because Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. If we are cut off from the source of life, we shrivel up and die.
Eros + Phileo + Agape = Intimacy
The expression of Eros love when combined with the other two, and within the bounds of marriage, is a beautiful portrayal of deep intimacy between husband and wife. It is a rare, holy and pure love that has learned to put the needs of their beloved above their own. When Phileo and Agape are intertwined purposefully with Eros, it is magnificent.
Bible Quotes on Love
“ … 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—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)
© 2009 Susan Ream