A LOVE Blog - Since it’s the week of Valentine’s Day that I’m writing this it seems pretty natural that I write about love. When I searched the net I was a little surprised to find out that the old song “Love Makes the World Go ‘Round” (from the 1961 Broadway musical, “Carnival”) had morphed into several other songs by the same name. Some of them are…interesting, to say the least. Without further reference to some of those songs or their artists, let me quickly get to my point.
Most of us would likely say that we know what love is. That “knowledge” may be more likely to come from the “romantic” definition. And that is an important definition to know. Yet, what is passed off on our culture (and many before ours) as “romantic” love is not love at all.
Let me back up one step further here. By the “classical definition” there are four words for the one word we typically use: love. Yes, the four words are Greek in origin. Without boring you with the Greek words please take a look at what they mean.
The first kind is the most limited kind of love, but it is the one that gets the most ink and air time. It’s that ubiquitous “romantic love” - except that its main limiting factor is that it was restricted to the love between a man and woman in marriage. So, the writer of Hebrews could say, “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure…” (13:4). Whether you read it in the Greek or English you should be able to figure out what he means by that. (He does give some additional clues if you want to check it out.)
Second, the fruit of romantic, married love is usually children. That kind of “familial” love is the second kind of love the Greeks knew. It was the love a parent has for her/his child in the safe-haven of the home. Several scriptures should come to mind, including those that remind parents that they should bring their children up in the “training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4, etc.).
A third, albeit broader love, is still limited. This love is usually referred to as “brotherly love.” In Proverbs 18:24, Solomon notes, “…there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (18:24b). I pray that you have a friend like that; everyone should. It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who famously said, “The only way to have a friend is to be a friend.” This kind of love depends on many factors, but they come down to common likes, dislikes and a relationship that has been through some challenges together.
That leads to the final—and highest kind of love. It’s often known by its Greek name, agape. But what does it mean. It means that kind of love that is unconditional. It’s the love with which our Heavenly Father has loved us. It’s John 3:16 type love. It’s love that only comes from the heart and mind and life of a born again believer in the life-changing power of Jesus Christ. It’s all over the word of God, but it is so challenging, even for Christians, to love like God loves us. It isn’t just an emotion. Indeed, it’s commanded by God. (See Matthew 22:37-40; John 13:34, 35; 1 John 4: 7, 8, etc., etc.). It’s an “in spite of love.” That is, it goes beyond the natural affinities of marriage, family, and friends. Although the Word of God tells us that we must love those in our circle of family and friends in this same way. (See Ephesians 5:22-6:4, for example.) It’s a supernatural love that is hard to practice; this love gives itself to others—even to people we may not know, or maybe even people we don’t “like.”
I do think love makes the world go round. But wouldn’t it go a lot further if we loved others—all of them—as God has loved us. (See Romans 5:8.)
In HIS LOVE,
Ron (Prob’ly Mobley)