A group of adults asked question, what is love? GOD IS LOVE so Love God First, love yourself next, love neighbours and others as yourself. Jesus answered same question on love in Matthew 22:36-40. Most important commandment in whole Bible is to Love God with all your heart, your whole soul, whole mind, your whole strength and to love your neighbour as yourself. This love command of God is confirmed in Mark 12:28-32 by Jesus’ answer to, of all commandments which is the most important one? Answer to young man Love God and love your neighbours. On love, Hear Oh Israel and all nations grafted in, LOVE GOD for God is Love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says, Love is patient, love is kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud, does not dishonour others, is not self-seeking, not arrogant or rude. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. If one speaks in tongues of men or angels but does not love, one is resounding gong or clanging cymbal. If one has gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries, all knowledge, and faith to move all mountains but does not have love God’s True Love is not in you. This important and relevant question of discussions includes many clarifications. As it soon clears various issues of man’s concepts of love. With so many self-help books and psychological definitions love is simplified into 4 essential categories following original Greek understanding of love. In broader context love extends to includes Godly perspective definition of love. Love is special inner emotion to understand if one is truly fully prepared to work at it for good success. Although most people believe that love revolves around the heart, it is actually occurring in the brain. Thought processes activate love in a good way or in lustful concepts. Artists, poets and painters epitomize heart as love symbol but it is the brain generating chemical signals to make people understand love. Different forms and styles of expressing love as described by Ancient Greeks are 4 terms being agape, phileo-philia-philos, storge, eros. To symbolize these 4 let us look at the 4 loves in details as follows.
Agape – Godly Love
Agape love is rooted and grounded in God as the Source of Love through Christ dwelling in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, can comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God in Ephesians 3:17-19. To attain agape love one has to be connected to God through Christ the Vine and believer as the branch. Love of God flows through Christ to enable, equip, to achieve agape love. It is impossible to achieve agape love by mankind’s own personal efforts without God in the heart at the centre of life. Each created person by God has God’s Spirit of Love Naturally inborn in mankind. The capacity to share agape love is enhanced by obedience to God’s word to love God, yourself and neighbour as yourself. Neighbour includes all people, family, loved ones and enemies. Jesus said agape love must be extended to love for enemies. Agape love is deepened by praying together, reading and studying the Bible as a family unit. God gave Christ, the first unconditional love that sees beyond outer surface to accept recipient for whom they are, regardless of flaws, shortcomings or faults. It’s the type of love everyone strives to have for fellow human beings. Although you may not like someone, you decide to love them just as a human being. Agape love is sacrifice giving so expects nothing in return. Agape is real life love action demonstrates good deeds behaviour towards others. Agape Godly Love is committed, inbuilt, so not influenced by circumstances of life or others or changed by people’s response.
These phileo- philia- philos love refers to affectionate, warm, tender platonic love. It makes you desire friendship with someone. Philos love activates and livens demonstration of agape love. Philos is selective love because one feels naturally more drawn towards certain people than others. So cannot always explain why you may not have a phileo love for the same people. Therefore you feel more connected to someone better than others. It is a committed and chosen love than can last throughout life based on location, duration, situation, proximity or distance if nurtured long-term. Philos can be affected by background history, understanding of emotions, mutual respect, life experiences, may be gender related or have shared goals. One seems to identify better with philos because of appealing nature or common interests. Qualities of love is seen in actions and behaviour but with clear boundaries. Friendship lines are not blurred by friends with benefits.
Storge- Family Love
Family love of compassion, caring, nurturing, friendship that parents naturally feel for their children. Storge is a unique often blood affection that related members of the family have for each other. This is enhanced by mutual family traditions, living together. Eating together, sharing chores and generational activities create healthy interaction than lasts for years. Although blood related, storge also includes adopted family members. Storge again is long – term friendships closer than a brother. Or through years of schooling together and living in a neighbourhood so feel for each other. In some cases, storge friendship love may ultimately become part of a blood related family. Others develop into romantic relationship but the couple were at first best friends. Storge love is unconditional, accepts flaws, faults ability to forgive. Knowing each other first before passion helps commit with better understanding of family sacrifices so feels secure, comfortable and safe.Eros- Romantic Love
Eros is the most popular concept of love known by people because it is passionate, intense romantic love. Erotic love triggers indulgent high feelings in new relationship to declare love. It is intimate, emotional, sexual love, originally exclusively intended by God within marriage. God said it is not good to be alone so God gave Adam a wife and companion to help meet each other’s needs. Although romantic love is important in the beginning of a new relationship, it is not the only factor to depend on for life in a relationship. Eros sexual, self- serving, tunnel vision, love alone is not enough to fulfil other real demands of matured nitty-gritty love long – term. This may not last unless it moves a notch higher. It is usually based on personal self- interest gratification so focuses more on self instead of the other person. So if erotic love is the only foundation of the relationship, then it fizzles out when the honeymoon is over. It is important to feel good in relationship to love partner steadfastly. This is a broad general understanding and description of love which promotes good, healthy and progressive relationship. In any relationship, you should have all these four loves working together to enable it survive for a longer time. In some cases a relationship may be long-lasting if partners share similar views on love. Opposites do attract too, so compassion, understanding, care, emotional support, active listening, empathy, two-way relationship.
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