L O V E – It’s a powerful four-letter word. It’s presence, or lack thereof, will transform your life. But what exactly is love? I believe that there are two basic love experiences: love by chance and love by choice.
Most of us have experienced love by chance or philos. It is a love that is all about emotion. It is a feeling that can be wonderfully uplifting and heartbreakingly real. It is not always stable, and it is usually linked to exterior forces that impact us. Love by choice or agape, is a completely different matter. It is a word that the life of Jesus Christ and His subsequent followers, gave meaning to. It is almost never seen outside of New Testament writings during that period. Agape denotes an undefeatable benevolence and an unconquerable goodwill that always seeks the highest good of the other person, no matter what he or she does. It is a self-giving love that gives freely without asking anything in return. Agape love does not consider the worth of its object. Agape describes the unconditional love God has for the world – His love for you and His love for me.
God wants us to experience Him loving us with this unconditional, forever, never changing love. But there is more. Romans 5:5 tells us that “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” When we become Christ followers, this love of God, this agape love, Paul tells us, is poured into our very own hearts so that we can now love the way God loves. God wants us to accurately represent Him to a lost and dying world. He wants us to demonstrate His love to people who are broken, hurting and without hope. He wants us to demonstrate it to those closest to us and to those we do not know.
We, in our own strength, are only capable of love by chance, philos. How empowering that God’s Word reminds us in 1 Cor. 3:16 that we are not alone. We are God’s temple and the Spirit of God dwells in us. I would propose that we have been created to be loved by God and to love for God. God wants every person to come to know Him and His love for them. That is our mission. To love for Christ.
In a month that tends to glorify philos, let us partner with Holy Spirit to glorify God. Let us agape -love by choice, those around us, so that God’s Kingdom would come and His will would be done, on earth as it is in heaven.