Living in some of the hardest times that our generations have seen, can allow us to harbor a lot of negative emotions. One of the hardest things to do – one of the most important lessons that God mentions in the Bible and in our hearts – is to love.
In addition to other things, February is coined as The Month of Love; but that doesn’t mean that your expression of the emotion should stop when the month ends. The greatest commandment states that we should love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. Immediately following, God commanded us to love thy neighbor as thyself. He didn’t limit the extent of your love to him, others, or yourself, to just the 14th of February, or even the entire month.
Love is a big word that encapsulates a lot: the lengths you’ll go for someone or something, time, care, effort…the list goes on. This is usually why people may take their time to drop those three words in romantic relationships, because love requires dedication. Love is so powerful, that God told us in Matthew 5:44 to love and to pray for our enemies who mistreat us. The emotion itself is so complex, that God broke down the different types of love to show us that love isn’t to only be expressed toward a significant other.
The Bible references multiple types of loves, displaying just how versatile the emotion truly is. Here are the four most common types of love displayed in our everyday lives:
Eros: Romantic love
This form of love is usually one of the first thought of when the word comes up. From butterflies in the stomach, to falling in love, God created humans to show affection, with the hopes to join one another in holy matrimony where two hearts will become one.
“You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride; you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes…” Song of Solomon 4:9
2. Storge: Familial love
From birth, this is the type of love we yearn for, it’s the one that comes naturally and instinctively. Storge is caring, it’s a bond, it’s something that is familiar and establishes the foundation for other types of love.
“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” Romans 12:10
3. Philia: Love for others
Whether it’s someone you know or not: a stranger, a friend, a coworker, when you show care for others, you’re expressing Philia love. Generally, when God tells us to love one another, this is the type of love he’s referring to.
“Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:1-2
4. Agape: God’s unconditional love
The most difficult type of love to express due to our human flesh, an unwavering, perfect and pure love is the kind that God shows to us, and that Jesus showed to the world.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
Love — as the Musiq Soulchild song states — so many people use its name in vain. Those who have faith in love sometimes go astray. Through all the ups and downs, the joys and hurts; for better or worse we still will choose love first.
As one of the most powerful and infectious emotions, love can be dangerous. But it can also be a beautiful thing. From friendships, relationships, self-love and a radiance that is shown through your daily life. In the above song lyrics, you can replace the word “love” with “God,” and the message stays the same. Why? Because according to 1 John 4:8 and personal experience, God is love!
Thank you, Lord, for showing us true love: how to be loved and how to give love. Love is complex: it can be shown in multiple ways, yet it never gets old. We love, God, because you first loved us. Let us continue to love openly and sincerely. Though it’s a word that may come and go, you have displayed love to and through us, and for that, Lord are grateful. Let us remember that when we may feel down, that there are three things that will forever remain by our side: faith, hope, and love — with the greatest of these, being love.
Amen, and Ashe.