“… the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13b (NIV)
Unlike the English language, the Greek language has a number of words for love that help distinguish different kinds of love. When we say, “I love my car; I love my dog, I love the Texans, I love my wife, I love God”, we only have one word to work with – love.
The Greek language offers four words for love:
- Storge – a natural feeling of affection for family and close friends.
- Eros – a love of physical attraction and passion that is based on feelings that can change. It’s conditional love focused on receiving. “I love you if you meet my needs.” It’s an I love you if kind of love.
- Phileo – a love that involves giving and receiving because “our” happiness becomes more important than just “my” happiness. It involves each person giving 50%, but it can still collapse in a crisis.
- Agape – the love God has for us. It is a love that chooses to place great value on the one loved whether they deserve it or not. It’s a commitment that produces loving actions that create powerful feelings. Agape is an unconditional love that keeps giving 100% regardless of the response. It begins with a commitment that says, “I choose to love you.” It’s not based on feelings. Feelings don’t generate agape, but they are produced by the actions of agape love.
God desires for us to experience His agape love. The Bible says,
“… God is love.” 1 John 4:8 (NIV)
This means that God not only loves, but that He is love! Agape love is real love! It is the greatest eternal value that God desires to restore in our lives. It is our greatest need because we are all broken people.
God desires to restore the broken places in our lives. Nothing is more devastating than a broken heart. The greatest eternal value God desires to restore in us is love. How does He fully restore love in our hearts when they’ve been broken? How can we restore love, agape love, in our broken relationships? This week, we will look at some practical Biblical steps to restore real love. A great place to begin is to re-examine the four types of love and ask yourself, “What kind of love have I been experiencing?” “What kind of love have I been giving to others?” “What do I need to do to take my love to the highest level?”