What Is Real Love?
by Pastor Scott
February has always been a very special month for me, not only is it the month of my birth, but it’s also the month most often associated with love. It is a time of the year we think about those we love and quite often we’ll see in store windows hearts and little cupids with their bows and arrows.
We start seeing cupids and hearts in the stores and begin thinking of what to give the one we love. Valentine’s Day, also called Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is celebrated annually on February 14. It originated as a Christian feast day honoring early Christian martyrs, one being named Saint Valentine. Through later folk traditions it has become a significant cultural, religious, and commercial celebration of romance and love in many regions of the world.
It also happens to be a suitable time to think about what real love is. In the Greek language, used for much of the New Testament, references three types of love:
Eros – This is sensual love. It is the first stage of a romantic relationship. It can be felt when you do not even know the person who is the object of this love. It is a physical love centered on self.
Phileo – This love is based on friendship between two people. It is based on give and take. It is a mental love that is still centered on self but also the other person. It is affectionate, brotherly love.
Agape – This is selfless love. It is love given without expectation of receiving any benefit in return. It has no conditions and benefits the one who is loved not the one who loves. This is Spiritual love.
What the Bible teaches us is that God, out of His agape love, sent His Son to die as a sacrifice for pay the cost of our sin. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
When we believe and receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He responds to those who love Him. He promises that if we look for Him, we will find Him. Proverbs 8:17 tells us, “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.”
God knows what we long for. He alone knows what we truly need in our lives. He knows our deepest selves better than we do. Have you talked with Jesus lately about the things that are bothering you? Have you talked to God about your life and the direction it is currently taking? Have you surrendered what you think you know?
No matter our circumstances in life right now, Jesus wants each of us to know that He loves us and wants our lives to be filled with joy. The joy that only He can give that is not dependent on our state of affairs. John 15 states, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
The Bible says that when we live in this love, we live in God and God lives in us. This is hard to understand sometimes, especially under challenging circumstances, but the ability to love others all stems from the love God has for us.
Because we all value our lives so highly, it is difficult to accept that when it comes to the things of this world, they are not going to last forever. But there are three things that do: faith, hope and love. Faith which is the confidence and trust we have in God. Hope which is the joyful expectation of eternal salvation through that faith in Christ. And Love, which is true affection for God and for others – affection that grows out of God’s love for us.
A part of Paul’s letter to the Romans fulfills all our expectations about love during this month of February, this month of love. Paul writes, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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