Recently I have been on a quest to understand love a little more in-depth.
I have no idea how long this “love word search” will last. Maybe it will be forever. (Shrugs shoulders) I have a few heart jewelry pieces to remind me of love and where it’s taking me.
I think most of us get shaped by our family of origin on what loves means. You’re going to hear a lot of me yapping about “family of origin,” and there’s a good reason. A lot of how we think about and how we perceive life has been molded from it, whether it was good or bad.
There are 3 basic types of love in the Bible.
Eros: Erotic, passionate, kissy kissy type of love. The kind you might slip on a negligee for. This comes, and it goes and can be very topical and shallow.
Philos: Friend love. Family love. Can ebb and tide love. Non- sensual love.
Agape: The type of love that we reflect from God. Unconditional love. No strings attached.
You know what’s weird? And I have been discovering this more and more about word study in the scriptures, is that all 3 types of love are shown in the scriptures as the universal word love. Ya, you have to actually go into a word study to find it unless it’s stated. The Bible wants you to go searching and digging for context, strange I know… In fact, I have a new Greek/Hebrew keyword study Bible I have been getting to know. But, I digress.
I think it won’t take you long to guess which love is the hardest to accept and then (ahem) give away.
Did you guess Agape? Correct.
Here’s the thing. The love of God feels unnatural to me even though I want it. I love the idea of it. I really want it to be mine, and I am stoked about loving everyone. And yet, most of us at some point in our life journey is stumped by it.
I think understanding God’s love is like the sun rising on a blue-sky morning. Slowly, as we are beginning to get it, the sky is getting brighter and brighter. It’s not all at once. It takes a deliberate work of paying attention, rolling over the rocks of unforgiveness, and sitting there in the cold morning hours asking God. Do you really love me, God?
No strings attached?
And waiting. Listening in the stillness, there He answers. “Yes. I do love you. I wouldn’t have bothered to send my son as the final sacrifice if I didn’t love you unconditionally. I wouldn’t have made the flowers, color, sense of smell, music, and art if I didn’t love you. Those types of things are just made for you to enjoy, no strings. I have loved you before your blueprints were designed and printed. And no matter what dumb choices you make, it doesn’t stop me from loving you. So, really the question is, do you love me?”
Do I really love God? Can I accept that he loves me unconditionally, even when I screw up and fail hard? And can I allow that understanding to fill the hollow void that humans fail to fill? Can I let myself to be whole through his Spirit and stop demanding perfection to be delivered from beings that can’t give it? Can I forgive myself without knowing God forgives me? Can I turn myself loose in the river of grace and free float with no effort? Free-floating begs trust. Can I trust God, doubt-free?
These are all questions that I am looking at and pondering regularly.
I don’t think that we will ever be able to hit perfection in understanding until we are walking the streets of Gold with Jesus. But I do believe that there are definitely checkpoints of maturity in our impression that we can most certainly obtain here in our cursed environment. Most certainly, we can.
The thing of it is, we can’t dish out to others what we don’t have in our own storehouses. If God is asking us to love with Agape brand love, then I must have some level of insight of what it is. And heavens to Betsy, it’s a hard one.
Our transformation into the likeness of God depends directly on how much we know about who he really is. So, what do we really know? And has what we say we know connected to our hearts?
It’s Especially for the logical types like me. People like me often have a harder time connecting their spirits to their hearts. We’re the types of people that have a harder time letting injustice go. You know, we even sometimes consider the word “critic” as part of our job description. Ya, these are all me. I have trouble with not befriending those potentially poisonous leaches.
Or perhaps in your family of origin, love was played out with strings holding it like a marionette puppet? Maybe love was only assumed. Did your family have trouble merely pointing out the mistakes and made you earn a temporary love that only lasted till the next fail?
I’d encourage you to look back from whence you came and think about how you developed your view of what love is. Does it line up with who God is?
I am hopeful that by laying them out and calling them out will help me move further up the ladder of maturity in my comprehension of love. Shucks, I think I am already on rung 12 out of 1,000!
Come on get after it, people. I want someone to share GF donuts with while I climb. Or peach tea. That is also tasty. If you haven’t already begun, it’s your turn to start this climb! Why? Because the greatest of all is love.
Three things will last forever- Faith, Hope, and Love – and the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13