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 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.
One thing for sure, love is obscure. How do you define love? Would you agree that love is an elusive term subject to many interpretations?
In this writing, I'd like to present a very brief and simplistic study of the root Greek word(s) for love 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 but the Greek is specific about type(s) 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 the love is based on Eros alone (apart from phileo or agape) 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 own hunger and self-pleasure.
FRIENDSHIP AND LOYALTY
A Phileo type of love (friendship love) adds value to a relationship. It possesses affection and a genuine loyalty to 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 acknowledgment of 'a kindred spirit' with another. There is great comfort and camaraderie when you share values and ideas. A sense of fulfillment comes when there is an acceptance and a knowing 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
My only sketch, profile, of heaven, is a large blue sky, and larger than the biggest I have seen in June—and in it are my friends— every one of them. ~ Emily Dickinson
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
Agape love is the greatest and highest form of love. Agape love transcends all others. This love is not a response and It is not dependent on the other person to do or to be anything.
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
- 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 is courageous and self-sacrificing enough to choose to love their spouse with an Agape love? In most relationships, when feelings go awry or disappointment sets in, all expressions and sacrificial acts of love cease.
In fact, to illustrate how far we have drifted from Agape love, 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' motivates the prenuptial loophole.
We live 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 is a rarity more precious than gold. It is a choice - it is not a feeling, and it is not dependent upon circumstances. No matter what happens - Agape love remains. An agape love is 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 one 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, as you focus on investing in your beloved.
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 acknowledgment 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."
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.
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
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)