Love is probably one of the most (mis)used words, yet least understood.
We call love between “brothers”, those who are united in the same cause ‘Philia’.
The love between family members is called ‘Storge’.
Then there is the much sung about type, Eros; consisting of powerful sexual attraction.
When God speaks of His love, it is always called Agape, God’s kind of love. Below, we will look at what His love looks like in practical terms:
1 Corinthians 13: v1 (The Message)
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
“…So no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”
V4-8 The Nature of Love (Agape):
“Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, (God’s truth, as revealed in the Bible but also truth versus lies – my comment)
Puts up with anything (is not masochistic; endures with a God-given purpose – my additions).
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best (without a Pollyanna complex! i.e. unrealistic positivity based on good feelings but rather based on God’s character and word – my addition).
Never looks back (except to learn from the past, not to live in regret – my addition),
But keeps going to the end (displaying faithfulness, endurance and dependability; see the life of Christ – my comments)
So how can mere man make the switch from the so-common self-centred ‘love’ to God’s kind of love? Definitely not by trying hard and gritting one’s teeth, although self-denial is part of it. We need to switch from ‘being in Adam’ to becoming ‘in Christ’. That’s where the much maligned and ridiculed concept of ‘being born again’ (Gospel of John, Ch. 3, v. 7) comes in, spoken of by Jesus Himself. Unless our status becomes ‘in Christ’ and no longer ‘in Adam’, we will be stuck with the kind of love that is all too common in the world around us; leading to betrayal, abuse, pretence and manipulation, all because ultimately and primarily we want to look after no. 1.