What is love?
Is it a feeling that you feel when you feel a feeling that you have never felt before?
That is the standard of love that most appear to strive for and experience.
For them, love is mostly about their personal feelings. We could be describing gas!
Boredom sets in when the feeling evaporates and love disappears in the wind.
Since the goal of love is to bond two people into a beneficial relationship forever, this kind of love is reduced to a transaction in which two people will continue to associate with each other as long as there are mutual benefits or something more exciting is not on the horizon.
The Bible introduces a different approach to love or relationship bonding.
The Language Of Love.
To study the biblical concept of love we have to look at two cultures.
The Greeks have four words to define many types of love. The Bible uses three of these.
- Agape (Unconditional Love). This is the most generous of the loves and the most spiritual.
While there can be negative consequences for love expressed in the other dimensions, there is no downside to agape for the one being loved because the lover accepts all the risks.
- Philos (Brotherly Love And Loyalty). This is brotherly love expressed in friendship and loyalty to others outside the circle of family.
Although this love embraces strangers, a narrow focus on love of those most like us or those whom we chose to include in our little club can lead to genocide.
- Storge (Natural Affection). This is love expressed between family members. It is the natural affection of parents for their children, siblings, spouses and family members towards each other.
Storge invites strangers to become a permanent part of the inner circle of family.
|Biblical Love |
|Eros || ||0|
- Eros (Romantic Love).
This word is not found in the Bible.
It is the most exclusive and selfish of the four loves which is reserved for the most intimate physical expression of love.
It is the Greek word for sexual love or passionate love which expresses longing or desire.
It is the least important of the loves, yet it is the concept of love that is marketed in our generation.
An expression of love that is meant to be exclusive has been tarnished by its current use.
It is the cheap love of prostitutes, pedophiles and the lustful desires of the uncontrollable mind.
This cheapened love is used to express all lustful desire for both people and things, including money, cars and ice cream.
Most Christian analysis of love is based on the Greek, the language of the New Testament.
The Old Testament gives additional insight into the concept of love.
- Checed, Hesed, Chesed (God's Love).
It is the love of God towards people. It is the equivalent of agape.
It is a loving covenant obligation, a deliberate choice that involves affection, kindness and compassion.
It is not found in Strong's concordance as "love" but identified as a Jewish word for love in other sources.
The word is translated as steadfast love, mercy, loving-kindness, faithfulness, goodness (Hosea 6:4,6 and Hosea 4:1).
When we show this loving-kindness to other people we are showing the love of God.
Hesed Through Jesus.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
(John 3: 16-17)
- Ahab, Ahavah, Ahav (Human Love).
It is not the love of God towards people.
It is the Love of people towards God, each other, family or friends. (Genesis 22:2; 25: 28; 37:3; I Samuel 18:2, 20:17).
It can be a spontaneous and impulsive love which is even used to describe Isaac's love for food (Genesis 27: 4).
It is the word used to describe the two greatest loves by humans.
- Love God.
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
(Deuteronomy 6: 5)
There is only one way to show that we love God.
Obedience And Respect.
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
(1 John 5: 3)
- Love Neighbor.
The commandment to love our neighbor as we "love ourselves" assumes that we already have a healthy love for ourselves.
If we hate ourselves or love ourselves too much then we cannot love appropriately.
However, except for people who hate themselves to the extent that they want to do harm, it means that even the narcissist who obeys this commandment would lavish attention upon others.
I Love Me.
Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.
(Leviticus 19: 18)
To avoid narcissism, this only works if we first love God.
I love God who loves me, so I love me and I love you too because you are just as valuable as me.
It is easy to love self. The test of loving others is the test for loving God.
The Barometer Of Love.
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
(1 John 4: 7-8, 16, 20)
- Other Loves.
Other words for love seem to concern the two primary loves in action, intensity and specificity.
They can be seen as verbs and adjectives to the nouns hesed and ahab.
- Chasaq (Yearning). It means to have a desire, long for, cling to or be joined to. The use seems to be the joining together of two different objects.
- Raham or Racham (Brotherly Love).
An emotion that results in an outward display of affection. To have compassion, pity, mercy or tender love. It also means womb and yearning bowels (emotions).
- Rayah. It is a term of endearment used in the Song of Solomon for a female companion.
- Dode, Dowd, Dod (Beloved). It portrays strong sexual desire or passion. It is from the root word "to boil" as to be in heat. Song of Solomon has many of these references.
» The Beloved Redeemer.
In 18 cases it is translated as uncle (16) or father's brother (2). One clue to why this uncle could be classified with a beloved is in Leviticus 25: 49, Esther 2: 15 and Jeremiah 32: 7,8,9,12.
Here he is the kinsman-redeemer. In other places this special "uncle" is a protector, counselor, wise man.
Since the role of Jesus is prophesied as our kinsman-redeemer who is also our husband the usage makes sense.
The best example of this is the story of Boaz and Ruth.
- Egeb. Used in Ezekiel 33: 31-32 to convey the amount of love.
- Agabah. Used in Ezekiel 23: 11 to portray misguided love - lust.
The Art Of Love: Chesed-Agape.
Let us examine the biblical concept of love by beginning with this famous chapter on love in 1 Corinthians 13.
Love is a choice.
Agape is the kind of love that is not based on feelings, but is based on doing good as a principle.
Agape is not concerned about what others have done or are doing or will do.
Agape pours out love despite what returns. There are no conditions under which agape will not love.
- Unnatural Affection.
At first it seems as if Paul is arguing from the absurd.
He saying that even if it were possible for one to be filled with the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit and have the outward appearance of the approval and confidence of God, then it is useless if that person is without love.
Could this be possible?
Could one be close to God, the source of the best love, yet not know love?
Satan was the covering cherub next to God.
Balaam was a prophet of God.
Judas was a close friend of God. They saw the power and glory of God but they did not know God.
So even those that seem to have the favor and respect of God may not know true love.
You might think that such a situation is impossible but we have the examples of Lucifer, Balaam and Judas.
They prostituted their love for hope of power and vain glory.
Their love was based on selfish hopes.
- Love As Noise. Satan was a beautiful angel with an apparent gift of a beautiful voice.
If you have the best gifts and the best access to power and fame it is meaningless without love.
With the best musical voice and being a very persuasive and charismatic figure, Satan's voice was not harmonious it was noise.
and his beauty was faded dust and ashes.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
(1 Corinthians 13: 1)
Great Pipes But Lousy Harmony.
Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
(Ezekiel 28: 13)
- Power Without Love Is A Dictatorship.
God can grant you all sorts of tokens of His approval, but even God cannot give you love and compassion, He can only show it to you.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
(1 Corinthians 13: 2)
- Sacrifice Without Love Is A Barbecue.
Even if it hurts to give, God is not impressed if you do not love.
In fact many people give because they are essentially buying God's favor through good works and "acts of penance".
Keep your filthy money and buy some soap.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
(1 Corinthians 13: 3)
- Mercy For Profit Is Worthless Grand Standing.
Sometimes people do charitable works because it raises their stature in the community. It is personal gain.
The rich leave grants and foundations in their name so that they will live on forever through their "charitable works".
We flock to such assistance because of the good it can do.
We are taking a mobster's wealth after his death to glorify his name when he received that wealth through corruption, murder and devastating the lives and morals of the weak and helpless.
It is filthy money which God spurns. We should shun them like Hitler and take his money to compensate his victims.
When you are dead your judgment is sealed, it is not refurbished in the after life with your money.
Even in the case of people who were not law-breakers but were merely harsh and uncaring towards the poor,
they generally suffer no inconveniences in life and are simply buying respectability after their death or after their corporate life.
So aren't we essentially rewarding a greedy miser who basically hated his fellow human beings by creating a memory that he does not deserve?
God is not impressed. Keep your money, buy a bigger and fancier mausoleum.
Better yet, take some of it with you just in case you can buy a verdict in your favor in the final judgment. The pharaohs did.
It is ridiculous that people hire public relations firms to "improve their public image" when the works they do basically use the poor and helpless as props and backdrops for their re-entrance into the hearts of society.
Society is having a heart attack and serious mental impairment.
- Natural Affection. The acts of Love define the attributes of God.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
(1 Corinthians 13: 4-6)
» The Loving Nature.
The loving person focuses on their actions and motives not on those of the one loved.
It is concerned with giving love, not on whether love is deserved.
Jesus' sacrifice sums up all the attributes of love,
- Long Suffering. God is patient with the wicked even though it has taken a beating on His character.
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
(2 Peter 3: 9)
- Kind. Love's self-sacrificing generosity gives liberally and is even extended to enemies.
- Unselfish. Love not only gives generously, it is not concerned with getting.
- Does Not Envy. Love rejoices at the good fortune of others and is satisfied with their own life.
- Not Conceited Or Proud. While most acts of love are projected outwards, this loving act is aimed inwards.
Proclamations of conceit or pride can leave others feeling inadequate. Love makes everyone feel important.
- Well Behaved. Love is careful not to stir up negative feelings.
God With Us.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
(Philippians 2: 5-7)
» The Loving Response To Evil.
Jesus emphasized this aspect of love which had been neglected and which seems counter-productive.
We should love our enemies and in doing so we must confront our attitudes towards the evil they represent.
Satan is the opposite. He is a conceited angel, who was so full of himself that he envied God's position. He is a liar and a thief and a murderer.
He is selfish and vindictive and deliberately set out to corrupt Adam and Eve.
He was provoked by Job's love of God asking for permission to try and make him fail.
Then he unleashed all manner of devastating evil on Job and his family.
He is a dirty coward.
- Not Easily Provoked. Love is not easily angered or impulsive.
- Does Not Think Or Encourage Evil. Love does not seek retaliation.
- Does Not Have Pleasure In Revenge. When bad things happen to our enemies we must weep with them. God is not happy about the death of the wicked.
Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
(Ezekiel 33: 11)
- Loves The Truth. Love does not like deception.
- Supernatural Affection.
These final characteristics of love are greatly influenced by the behavior of the object of our affection.
Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
(1 Corinthians 13: 7 KJV)
Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].
(1 Corinthians 13: 7 Amplified Bible)
This is ridiculous! Love cannot "believe all things" when the other party is known to be evil.
It seems risky and dangerous to exercise this depth of love in some circumstances.
» The Loving Response To God.
I can only reconcile this kind of behavior when I consider our love for God.
We know that evil exists and it is not controlled by God, but no matter what we see or know about life, if we want to know God we must first approach Him with this gift.
Do not assume that God is evil or condones evil or uses evil when it suits His purpose. Choose to approach Him with this confidence.
» The Loving Response To Evil.
However, when it comes to evil people this response is neither redemptive nor justified in some instances. It is foolish.
Evil counts on silence to fluorish.
- Bears All Things. It is the love for God exercised by the believer who feels abandoned by God.
- Believes All Things. When we hear God's explanation about why good and evil exists and what He plans to do about it, the one who loves God will believe Him instead of saying that this explanation is not good enough.
When someone takes that position they are usually reacting to inflammatory isolated events and they truly have not considered the whole picture which they cannot possibly grasp from their limited perspective and knowledge.
- Hopes All Things. It is the type of love and trust that the unbeliever needs to have when they approach God and decide to trust Him for the first time and give Him a fair hearing.
- Endures All Things. Acknowledging that we cannot possibly understand "why" we humbly submit to God's time table and plans and endure this life, painting it with love so that we can erase some of the graffiti of sin.
» The Strange Acts Of Agape.
Enmity, punishment and execution are not incompatible with the unconditional love of agape.
So there are conditions on this love.
It turns out the condition is not on His love. God will grieve over His lost children.
The condition is justice and common sense.
- Bears All Things.
If you are being severely abused and beaten by your spouse or if you know that someone is a victim of such abuse it is cowardly and criminal to remain silent.
No one should suffer or tolerate severe physical beatings and torture.
A person who has a healthy self-esteem can survive verbal abuse but when the same hammer is repeatedly used to crush your young children it is not a loving act to allow your abusive spouse to continue while the helpless suffer.
Bearing up under criminal behavior when society gives you the opportunity to end it is not healthy for you or the perpetrator.
If you would not let a thief or a murderer or a rapist escape justice, then it is not noble to allow a family torturer to continue to break the law or continue in activities that God condemns.
If so you are strengthening his hand.
He can learn repentance in jail.
- Believes All Things.
This privilege can only be applied to some people.
The fact is that evil counts on the trust and gullibility of the good.
While love can help to give support in certain situations, love cannot afford to believe a spouse who is either a pedophile, a child molester, a serial killer or a serial adulterer.
Whether the crime is confirmed or not, love cannot tell you to choose to believe that your child is lying and not your husband.
Does the love for husband supersede the love for the child?
Even if you keep an eagle's eye on your child what about other people's children.
The average pedophile gets away with molesting 50 girls or 150 boys before anyone reports him.
70-90% of the victims are relatives or acquaintances, not strangers.
If your husband or wife is a confirmed adulterer, then when the twenty first woman or man comes forward or he is caught in a prostitution sweep your first response cannot reasonably be "I believe you".
However, your first response can be, "this too I will forgive because of love".
- Hopes All Things. Love can hope in all circumstances that the criminal can repent of his or her ways and return to God.
Love can hope because with God all things are possible.
However hope does not prevent you from doing the morally right and sensible thing.
Evil must be confronted and corralled.
However, you are a child of God if you reach out to the evil one in his confinement to give the message of hope and forgiveness.
- Endures All Things. Love can endure. Once you have done all to protect the innocent then you can decide to offer support which will severely test you.
If you decide to be a martyr or to be tested by your decisions it is selfish to drag others into such oppressive situations.
Your love for the evil that you are trying to reach cannot cancel out the duty of love that you have for others who are vulnerable.
- Enmity. God promises to put enmity between us and Satan.
Eventually even God destroys the wicked. Even God does not "bear, believe, hope and endure all things" forever in the case of the wicked.
And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed;
War. He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.
(Genesis 3: 15)
- Condemning And Punishing The Guilty.
Despite the limitless outreach and patient endurance of agape in the pursuit of mercy, justice requires that agape deals with unrepentant evil.
His love is unlimited, but justice requires that He does not allow evil to feed off our act of mercy only to continually spit in our faces.
Mercy And Justice.
And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
(Exodus 34: 6-7)
- God's Strange Act (Execution).
Punishment is a strange act to Him.
That is why He has patiently allowed and endured 6000 years of suffering to give evil every opportunity to repent.
The Wrath Of God.
For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act.
(Isaiah 28: 21)
In the end God has to make some hard decisions and He only does it when evil forces His hand.
Even after the wicked and Satan acknowledge that God was fair and good and just God does not execute them. He stays the execution for a time to demonstrate what they will do.
After this time they immediately get to the task of building weapons to try to destroy the city of God and take it over.
God destroys them after they attack Him.
It is not love and mercy to allow the wicked to continue.
If they cannot victimize the good then they will victimize each other until there is none left.
It is merciful for God to put them out of their mysery.
- Fuzzy, Imperfect And Incomplete.
Many good things that gave honor and prestige were created for this emergency under sin.
Yet when love returns these will fade away like flowers in the heat of the sun.
They were good, but now they are useless after love has returned.
They will fade and go away but love will remain.
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
(1 Corinthians 13: 8-12)
- Prophecy. We no longer need to know the future so a prophet is useless.
- Tongues. Tongues were created in response to evil. So the universe will return to one language.
- Knowledge. The knowledge we have is incomplete and fuzzy and imperfect.
Some of what we hold dear will be redundant. We will not need airplanes or space ships or fancy cars.
We will not need nuclear power or smart weapons. Our knowledge and science will not be based on destruction or used to create frivolous and worthless things.
Who needs a new model of a smart phone every year or designer shoes or the year 9012 fall fashion?
- Imperfect And Childish. What we think is important is childish foolishness. Botox, high heels, yellow ties?
- Fuzzy. What we think we know is imperfect or erroneous. Spontaneous generation, flat earth, evolution?
- Nothing Greater Than Love.
Truth will test all three, but Only love is enduring.
And now abideth faith, hope, charity (love), these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
(1 Corinthians 13: 13)
There is an expiration date on hope and perfect faith is possible only with God, but neither truth, nor lie, nor hopelessness, nor the dissolution of trust can move true love.
- Faith. Only God is completely trustworthy at all times, so faith can vanish.
- Hope. Hope can fade away when reality sets in.
- Love. Charity is not simply the love that feels and wants to be fulfilled. Charity is the love that gives and gives.
Love can abide forever because it is based on the lover's actions, not the beloved.
So although the wicked will cease to exist forever, God will and can still continue to love even though He will pine over lost love.
- Love Is Perfection. Love does not give up or expire.
All the things we cherish as valuable and important cannot compare to love.
They will vanish and become useless but love can never expire.
Love is eternal because God is eternal.
Agape Works (Matthew 5).
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus defines the behavior of agape.
Declaring that He has not come to banish the laws of the Old Testament, Jesus takes not only the Ten Commandments but other laws that address our interaction with others and opens them up to a more communal meaning.
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5: 17-20)
- Agape Righteousness.
Agape righteousness is a loving righteousness that reaches out.
The righteousness of Agape exceeds the sterile, ritual righteousness of those who simply obey the letter of the law.
In this classic examination of the law, Jesus reminds us that righteousness is not simply avoiding bad behavior, loving righteousness is doing good.
So righteousness no longer centers on our behavior to us or against our conscience but on our behavior to others.
It is the righteousness that flows out of us, not the righteousness that washes us clean.
Agape is not concerned with background righteous of who we are and who we should be, but with the righteousness of who we are like.
Agape mirrors the loving kindness of God.
It is not concerned with whether I rob and assault people, of if I return money overpaid or if I give 75% of my income for tithes and offerings.
Agape is concerned with stepping out of our comfort zone to risk being rebuffed so that we can seek out the good that is left undone.
Agape notices the sadness in others and not only asks what's wrong but is prepared to move heaven and earth to right the wrong.
It is easy to give words of kindness, or give money to a charitable organization, it is much harder to personally do the deeds of kindness.
Agape is a long term commitment to life changing good, not stop-gap Christmas day charity that only makes us feel good about ourselves.
- Agape In Person.
The Source of agape restocks our supply when we are in need or when we pour out our store of agape.
We are blessed when we give and receive agape.
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
(Matthew 5: 3-9)
These are to be understood in the context of seeking rightousness.
They reflect the attributes of the one who has been internally changed so that their mind (frontal lobe) control their hormonal systems (limbic system) so that they reflect the character of God.
These are righteous attributes of God.
- Poor In Spirit. Those who are teachable and not rebellious.
- Mourn. This is not in defense of sadness, but recognition of those who are deeply troubled over the growth of unrighteousness to the point where the empathize with God and with victims and act.
And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.
1 (Ezekiel 9: 4)
- Meek. Those who are humble and submissive, but not subservient.
- Hunger And Thirst After Righteousness. Those who have a strong desire to know and do right.
- Merciful. Those who show empathy and forgiveness are more like God.
- Pure In Heart. They are not controlled by greed or lust but by sound reasoning.
- Peace Makers. This is not the modern negotiated settlements where everybody compromises to "win" something.
God's peacemakers achieve peace by giving up everything to make the other happy.
Even in the case of Matthew 5: 38-41, the peacemaker offers to walk a second mile and to give above what is demanded.
These peacemakers realize that issues of peace and discontent are generally about acquiring more "things" or more unilateral submission. These are of no value to God.
- Agape In Community (A Shining Light). Agape is the beacon on a hill, radiating the character of God.
Agape is the full moon reflecting the light of the sun in the dark.
When we reflect our Father's love we are the treasures that make the earth a pleasant place to be.
When we practice agape we are modeling God to the world.
Light In The Darkness.
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
(Matthew 5: 13-16)
- Agape On Trial.
When agape is tested through persecution we get to show the glory of God by pouring out agape to our enemies.
This is a blessed opportunity because we witness for God on all levels.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
(Matthew 5: 10-12)
- Agape Obeys.
When we love we keep the commandments, because they show us how to express love.
- Murder, Hate And Anger. Agape is against anything that kills. Hate is a relationship killer.
Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment:
Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
(Matthew 5: 21-24)
- Stealing Or Giving.
Give in or submit instead of arguing over silly things.
Don't insist on proving your rational point to the irrational person opposing you.
Don't argue with evolutionists, Darwinists, alien abductees, necromancers, witches and politicial fans.
Try to avoid controversy if it is not a moral or human rights issue.
Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.
Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
(Matthew 5: 25-26)
- Adultery. Agape remains faithful in thought, intentions and deeds.
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
(Matthew 5: 27-28)
Do not condemn another to a life of adultery because of your lusts.
Legal Adultery: Divorce.
It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
(Matthew 5: 31-32)
- Lie. Agape recognizes no grey areas.
You should be a person of integrity who is known by the value of his words.
So we should never have to put up collateral to vouch for our truthfulness.
Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:
Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
(Matthew 5: 33-37)
Agape roots out those things within that lead us to temptation, even if the process will be painful.
Therefore agape should root out relationships that are causing us to stumble.
When we are strengthened, then agape requires us to go back and rescue those who are still drowning in sin.
And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
(Matthew 5: 29-30)
- Agape Jubilee.
Jesus tackles the letter of the law in other areas of the Old Testament by making all our transactions apply to the law of the year of the jubilee.
It is very interesting that those who claim that all laws have been nailed to the cross, but who love this nice God of the New Testament portrayed in this sermon,
failed to see that Jesus was reinforcing these laws given by the "harsh God" of the Old Testament.
- Submission Not Revenge.
Submission at the cross won our salvation, not revenge. Satan poured out wrath but God poured out more love by submitting.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
(Matthew 5: 38-41)
- Jubilee Kindness. In the year of the jubilee all debt is discharged and all slaves are freed with compensation, all property is restored so that everyone can start over.
As the jubilee approached it was the practice to not give loans because the loans would be discharged soon.
So lenders hardened their hearts. Soon, nobody was obeying the jubilee for any part of the 50 year cycle.
So with this statement Jesus was declaring the year of the jubilee and its principles which will last forever.
Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
(Matthew 5: 42)
- Jubilee Love.
In the year of the jubilee we should learn to love like God. Have a generous love that encircles all and liberates all and restores all to the status of family.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
(Matthew 5: 43-44)
- Agape Chooses To Love Its Enemies.
Agape applies all these principles not just to loved ones or those who deserve it or to strangers we hope to include in our circle of friends.
Agape applies all of this heart-felt love to its enemies, hoping to bring them into the circle of philos and even storge or eros.
However, agape will even love when there is no hope that the love will be reciprocated.
Children Of God.
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
(Matthew 5: 45-48)
The Science Of Love.
The relationship design is based on a host of scientific principles and chemicals which influence the decisions and behavior of living creatures.
Animals respond to chemical signals called pheromones.
Trees go through their scheduled cycles of activity, producing flowers to attract match makers who will help them pollinate.
In all these living systems, the single goal of this cycle of heat and calm is to reproduce.
The more advanced the species, the more the time between heat cycles becomes important.
So, although love peaks in an important ten minute act, the long intervening period between this union is mediated by this process we call love.
The Sanctuary Called Love.
The sanctuary models the relationships of subatomic particles in particle physics.
The entire model is also a pattern of successful, creative relationships on any level.
- Mirror Image Opposites.
The atom is constructed of matter and antimatter which are mirror image twins of opposite charges.
The north and south walls are mirror images of each other. It means that they are twins who are somehow opposite.
This design is reflected in every level of creation.
So, in a successful relationship you must have many things in common, so that your pairing complements the deficiencies of the other and reinforces your strengths.
If you have many common weaknesses or nothing in common it is a recipe for disaster.
- Atom. In physics, matter is paired with antimatter to create atoms.
- Earth. The north and south poles have opposite charges allowing a flow of electrons to occur.
- DNA. DNA is made from two complementary strands which are aligned in opposite direction but are precisely bonded in exclusive pairs.
- Adam And Eve. Since Eve was made out of Adam, she was His clone or genetic twin, yet she was opposite. God used only Adam's "X" chromosome to create Eve.
- Marriage. In social relationships male and female are paired to create children.
- Submission. The movements of the sanctuary are based on one submitting to another and both submitting to each other.
It is this submission that causes electrons to flow from one charge to another.
It is this mutual submission that makes it possible for the magnetic flow in the earth from one pole to another and back.
By natural design someone is the designated origin - the male.
In practice it is the mutual submission that makes the union creative.
This us why the unilateral submission of Eve was a curse (Genesis 3: 16). All curses will end in heaven.
- Bond. The walls and roof are held together by several types of bonding methods which are reflected in the atom.
One cannot enter into a meaningful relationship unless they are first grounded and stable.
Then the principals must be attracted to each other. Finally God must join them together.
- God Bonded (Strong Force).
The strong force holds the matter and antimatter together to create the nucleus of the atom.
The western wall holds the two pairs of walls together.
God is the strong force that holds two together as one, like a yoke between two oxen.
- Magnetic Bonds (Strong Attraction).
A magnetic field holds the nucleus and electrons of the atom together.
Attraction pulls and holds people together. This could be physical, personality, intellectual or spiritual compatibility.
More often people are attracted to the money, power and status that a relationship will bring.
- Strong Base (Stability). Underneath each board is a heavy base that keeps it in place.
- Together At A Distance.
In a successful relationship we must be yoked together by God, yet we must have space to maintain our individuality.
The west wall holds the north and south wall apart but together, creating space for two rooms.
» Stifled By Togetherness.
The design shows the importance of individuality.
Any relationship that seeks to absorb one into another or make one lesser than the other cannot create a creative space.
We must be joined by God and we must leave room between us to create an environment for God and others to interact with us.
- The Essentials.
While the sanctuary represents the union, the outer court is the dating and wooing and interaction with others.
The sanctuary is the model of the union.
- Surrender (Sacrifice). We must learn to give and take during this time, because learning to submit and learning to take will become crucial to permanent, close relationships.
We learn this behavior while interacting submissively with parents and elders, then on an equal footing with siblings and friends and finally with a spouse.
- Clean (Laver). The priests wash before entering the sacred sanctuary. All problems and secrets must be exposed so that the relationship starts with a clean slate.
- Communication (Incense Altar). Effective communication is key to establishing and maintaining a healthy love.
- Nurture (Shewbread). The evidence says that sharing family meals helps to hold the family together.
The sanctuary design agrees.
When Moses went up to meet God on Sinai, they first made a sacrifice then stopped to eat and drink before proceeding up the mountain.
Fellowship Meal With God.
And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.
And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink.
(Exodus 24: 10-11)
They saw God and had a meal. How interesting!
Jesus had a final meal with the disciples before the crucifixion and He cooked fish for the disciples when He met them after the resurrection.
- Giving Light (Menorah).
While secrecy may be necessary for planning surprise parties it is not healthy in close relationships.
Even a pledge of secrecy should only be entered into for a short duration, because the odds are that you are helping to perpetuate an unhealthy situation by joining into a conspiracy of silence with an embarrassed victim.
- God. He is the one who holds the relationship together and the only space between couples should be the room for God.
So it is important that we have similar views about God.
- Exclusive. The more intimate the relationship, the more exclusive it must be.
Only the priests could enter the holy place of the sanctuary. Only the high priest could enter the Most Holy Place and only once each year.
Similarly, a marriage must be treated as a holy construction.
"Open" relationships are a Satanic invention that signifies a relationship that is based only on the physical.
Having multiple partners before or during a marriage only makes the ability to bond more difficult.
- Metal Fatigue. Fatigue occurs when a material is subjected to repeated loading and unloading.
- Adhesive Failure. Since bonds are supposed to be permanent, repeated and frequent application and removal of a bond not only destroys the bonding material but the surfaces on which they adhere.
The same behavior of mechanical-physical bonds can be applied to emotional-physical bonds.
The biological phenomenon called imprinting may explain the chemical systems behind the creation of the bonding in a marriage that God intends should be permanent and exclusive.
Researchers have identified unique windows of opportunity for animals and people to acquire critical knowledge.
Imprinting happens in the first few hours and days and it prepares animals to form an immediate strong social bond.
This crucial moment affects who they bond with and the mates they choose in the future.
Birds are predisposed to form a strong attachment with the first object they see,
The phenomenon is triggered by the first moving object, sight, sound and smell.
They can even attach to inanimate objects if they are introduced at the right time.
Perhaps babies should spend all their first few days next to mother instead of in a hospital nursery or on an examination table.
Since God intends this crucial relationship to be strong and permanent it must have a physical and psychological component.
So the first voluntary sexual encounter must create a biological memory that facilitates this bonding.
It may explain why widows must be married to a close relative of their husband.
Somehow the immune system must imprint on the genes of the family.
So serial fornication, adultery, prostitution, xxx rated "how to" tapes, sexual aids must all be counterproductive in creating strong, lasting bonds of love.
The false standards and image of sexuality and sensuality presented by the popular culture are injurious and detrimental to achieving rewarding human relationships.
Research bears this out, because living together before marriage is a recipe for a failed marriage.
Couples who wait have a healthier, stronger and more enjoyable union than those who do not.
They do not have impossible standards to achieve because they do not take intimacy lessons from the Satanic ideas of the popular culture.
The Mechanics Of Love.
The dynamics of our emotions flow with the same rhythm as the rest of the universe.
Every thing gives and receives.
The wind and rain flow in cycles.
The earth and the sea give up water which is purified as it rises to form the clouds.
Then it is returned in the form of rain to water the trees and the earth.
|Normal And Expected Dynamics|
Electrons flow from the south to the north pole and back again.
The earth revolves, creating cycles of air and water that purifies its systems.
Love flows from the giver to the receiver with varying expectations of return.
While the popular concept of love presents itself as an unstable dynamics of feelings and emotions, true love is based on a law that never quits.
This law has several components. Any single component does not constitute enduring love, it takes all three in varying configurations to construct love as defined by God.
Like the roles of the Trinity in the Plan Of Salvation, the roles of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit also play a part in restoring the love of God in the universe.
These attributes are outlined in this verse.
Commitment, Bonding And Intimacy.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.
(2 Corinthians 13: 14)
- The Commitment To Love (The Grace Of God). True love never fails.
I begin with this as the first principle of love because God made the decision to love and care for us before He began the process of forming the relationship.
The exceptional kindness and unwavering support of God has made a glorious future possible for anyone who wants it.
Jesus Christ committed Himself to us before the creation.
The Unmerited Grace Of God.
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
(Revelation 13: 8)
Prenuptial agreements and punitive contracts all point to anticipation of dysfunctional love in a dysfunctional world.
All these precautions point to a lack of commitment because of an expectation of failure.
- Lover. He is the origin of the decision to care about someone or something outside oneself.
- Unconditional. The decision to love does not depend on the behavior or attributes of the beloved.
- Self-Sacrificing. The lover gives themselves as a gift to the beloved.
- Conditional. The decision to love is based on some tangible reward. When that benefit disappears then the commitment ceases.
Physical appearance, mental stability, education, age, fertility, boredom, personality, need, self-esteem, wealth, power and prestige are all attributes that spark commitment or dissolve it.
- Beloved. The object of the affection. The risk of love depends on the response of the beloved.
- Friend. When your beloved is also your friend it is pure joy.
- Enemy. One risks rejection, mistreatment. animosity or reconciliation. The benefit of loving an enemy is the chance of making a friend, otherwise there is only the hope of constant animosity.
In God's economy the chance is worth the expense.
- User. This is a special type of selfish enemy who takes without any intention of reciprocating love.
- Effort And Resources. A commitment to love involves the willingness to spend any physical and emotional capital on behalf of the beloved.
It is not enough to pledge your commitment, it has to do and achieve something.
- Only Son. God emptied heaven and handed Him over to His greatest enemy because the life of Jesus Christ was the ransom that Satan demanded.
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
(1 John 4: 10)
- Heart And Soul. We must return this love to God with no reservations.
And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
(Mark 12: 30)
- Actions Speak. Words Are Cheap.
Love is not experienced only in the mind. Since love involves another person, the evidence of love is always in the actions.
I know that you mentally and spiritually love me because of what you do, not what you are thinking or feeling or planning to do or would have done.
What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
(James 2: 14-17)
- Duration (Time). For all types of love, commitment assumes a lifelong relationship.
The assurance is given by a decision to commit.
Severing Commitment. Abandonment is the sign that the lover is no longer interested.
Hate. To be an act of love, commitment must be voluntary. Slavery is forced commitment. It extracts time and effort without any of the benefits of love.
Salvation Love (Baptism). Baptism is the public sign of our commitment to God. Crucifixion was His sign.
The Love Of God (The Son).
He was the one who volunteered to demonstrate the unconditional Love of God through His life and commitment to the human race to the point of sacrificial death.
Commited To Us Because of Him.
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
(Ephesians 1: 4)
Love Science (Vasopressin). Long term commitment and devotion are associated with this hormone.
- The Magnetic Bonds (Attachment Of The Love Of God).
An important aspect of love is that there must be a lover and an object loved.
There must be self and others. This love flows out like streams of magnetism.
This love is known and felt by what it does.
Several scenarios can occur within these dynamics.
- Giver. Love begins with someone with a great need to share with someone else.
God's love propelled Him to make an oath of unconditional commitment. This oath is His legal bond.
- Unshared Love. Love must be shared in order to grow or strengthen.
Unshared love is like a light hidden inside an empty, sealed container. It serves no purpose. It is a waste of resources.
- Hopeful Love. This is devotion with the expectation of a return of feelings.
- Unselfish Love (Altruism). This is an unselfish devotion to the well-being of others without expectation of any benefit.
Parent have children and abandon them or physically abuse them all the time.
Genetic bonds do not ensure the devotion of the parties concerned.
Similarly, bonds formed by choice, based on some benefit can easily disintegrate if the benefit evaporates.
However, a bond based on a principle and a choice is like an oath. It is unbreakable.
- Receiver. The receiver has several options, they can accept or reject the offer of love.
- Reciprocal Love. They can return this offer of love, setting up a cycle of giving and receiving. This creates and strengthens the bonds.
- Unrequited Love. Sometimes there is an expectation of reciprocal love but the receiver does not or cannot return or acknowledge the love for various reasons.
This is not necessarily bad or sad. Sometimes the love can only flow one way.
A baby is the most selfish creature, yet the parent continuously pours out love until there is a response.
Some children with ADHD can never learn how to properly nurture and develop these bonds, but the parent's love does not abate.
Sometimes people continue to pour out love when there is no hope of response.
Spouses continue to care for partners stricken with Alzheimer's disease and other conditions that cause mental impairments which sever the bond without intention of malice.
- Selfish Love (Narcissism). When the receiver has no intention of reciprocating love and only cares about what they can get or the giver and receiver are the same and the object loved to the exclusion of all others is self, it is self worship.
This view of love helps us to see love as a form of worship through an expression of adoration.
» The Bonds Of Love.
One of the greatest testimony to the power of love is to join two dissimilar people.
This takes a special bonding system.
God's picture of perfect love is that in any type of love all these dimensions must be engaged to some degree.
- Artificial (Mental). These bonds are based on choice. They can be triggered instantly or gradually by some form of proximity of space, beliefs or interest. The interest could be spiritual, intellectual or physical attraction.
Hypnosis, truth serums and any form of mind control are criminal acts of bonding.
- Natural (Physical).
The bonds that begin by choice can create an environment that nurtures individuals who begin in a state of preexisting bonds.
These bonds do not begin by choice but spontaneously form because of a biological or legal relationship.
As these individuals grow they may choose to sever these relationships but the environment generally reinforces these bonds.
- Supernatural (Spiritual).
These bonds are not initiated by benefit, or attraction or expected familial bonding.
They are formed because of the choice and act of one person. It is the love of the artist for His work of art.
It is a designed piece, in which an artist pours out all he can express in his work. There is nothing accidental in this design, unless the design is to create an appearance of randomness.
This work of art is not the same as parents deciding to have children. Child bearing is a random painting, similar to being blindfolded and splashing buckets of paint on a canvas.
They know that this child will generally lie somewhere within the spectrum of the average appearance of both parents, but they generally have no control over the physical appearance of their child.
When the work of art is another sentient being the product becomes extremely more valuable.
God knew us and designed every detail and He looked in the mirror as He worked and planned.
I will choose to love you because you are valuable. You are valuable because I made you.
In the case of humans created in the image of God, God essentially made a self-portrait.
I made you to look like Me, not because of some narcissistic bond to Myself.
I made you to look like Me so that you would feel more loved and desire to bond with Me as family.
» Dysfunctional Bonds.
The strongest bonds include all three dimensions. They are spiritual, mental and physical.
However, human love is generally dysfunctional because we have prioritized physical love.
The Bible gives us guidance on the bonds we make because these permanent bonds are important for maintaining our relationship with God.
Marriage should be entered in with the expectation that it will be permanent and with the knowledge of the awesome purpose marriage was designed to achieve.
Through marriage God designed the only way to enlarge the species, unite strangers and reflect the creative unity of God.
Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
(Matthew 19: 6)
- Unequally Yoked With Unbelievers.
Since marriage is a permanent union, the selection of a spouse is crucial.
The most important requirement is that our life partner must be a dedicated believer.
It is not enough that we believe in the same God, we must believe the same things about God.
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
(2 Corinthians 6: 14)
We can see the effects of being unequally yoked in oxen.
Oxen that are different sizes, height, speed and even temperament do not make good partners.
A building with different length and heights in the walls is an odd structure that will require extra support.
You and your potential spouse must first be married to God before you attempt this union.
You must not think so lightly about this important duty that your spouse pretends a last minute conversion.
Unfortunately, marriages based on such conversions are probably between two who are executing their own will and inviting God to be part of the charade at the last minute.
Even within the same church you can be bonded with an unconverted soul.
You must be drawn to your potential spouse because they have a loving relationship with God and their character reveals this bond.
- Prostitution And Fornication.
This text suggests that something important happens with any sexual union.
What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
1 Corinthians 6: 16-17)
The immune system remembers pathogens (germs) for years so that it can recognize them when they invade the next time.
We may have a system that imprints every sexual partner and encounter.
When we have multiple partners it is as if we are having multiple exposures on the same important strip of mental film.
We are creating a confusing image in the part of our mind that is tasked with maintaining this bond.
Eventually, we have mental fatigue and the adhesive bond will not hold with anyone.
- Unnatural (Physical). Prostitution is a purely physical intimate bond. Fornication lies somewhere between. For males it is usually a physical scorecard but for females it is more likely associated with mental-emotional feelings.
A commitment to marriage generally means that both male and female have entered into a three dimensional bond. Anything less is a weakness in the bond that risks rupture.
- Illegal (Physical). There is a special type of physical contact that is only legal between adult strangers. Rape, incest and pedophilia are hate-filled acts motivated by purely selfish brute desires.
- Demon Possession And Dark Associations.
The spiritual bond can only be made with God, but access to the mind is a prized jewel for Satan.
Demon possession is a criminal act, a brutal mental rape, which is aimed at taking over the mind in order to control our thoughts and physical movements.
The Bible forbids us from forming relationships with those who deal in the occult because this is an opportunity for spiritual bonding with the ideas and possibly the personalities of these dark forces.
Married To God.
But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
1 Corinthians 6: 17)
Love malfunctions when the receiver is incapable of returning love or when the receiver exploits the lover and the benefits of the relationship with no intention of returning the love.
More sinister bonds form when one is incapable of severing the bond.
In the case where bonds are severed, stalking behavior and predatory harassment occurs to reestablish the bond.
In the case where bonds are intact, extreme possessiveness and intimidation are used to maintain the bond.
Severing The Bonds Of Love: .
Love can be legally formalized through adoption or marriage and dissolved through divorce or death.
The bonds of informal arrangements are more tenuous and transitory.
Hate. Extreme acts of possession that kill or imprison the one that is supposed to be loved.
Murder-suicide and extreme forms of submission where the object loved cannot choose to sever because of deliberate actions to make the person totally dependent financially, physically and emotionally so that they have no options.
Voluntarily love is not sought, only power and control. This is a sort of legalized rape.
Salvation Bonding (Marriage And Adoption). The Bible gives two pictures of the result of the bonds with God. We will be adopted as children and we will be the bride of the Lamb of God.
The Love Of God (The Father).
After making the commitment to help us, He is wooing us with bonds of friendship because we are enemies.
I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.
(Hosea 11: 4)
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8: 31, 35, 38-39)
Love Science (Oxytocin).
This hormone facilitates trust and attachment by feelings of intimacy and bonding. It is important in strengthening pair bonding, such as the bond between mother and child and helping men to be faithful.
- The Strength And Intensity Of Love (Intimacy And Fellowship Of God).
While the foundation of commitment is the walls and bonding is the glue of a relationship, intimacy is the space where you live out the love relationship.
True love is tenacious.
While the other two aspects of love are the basic foundation and are the unconditional attributes of agape love, this dimension seeks to build a relationship with the beloved by taking proactive steps to woo the beloved into the space prepared for love.
Birds build nests and attract a mate, the Jewish bridegroom prepares a room for his bride and Jesus goes to heaven to prepare a place for us.
In the same way, one who loves must prepare for the intimacy by building a structure in which this relationship will survive.
This structure is first in the mental and spiritual plane before if takes shape in the physical world in the form of a marriage and a home.
This aspect of love begins with an assumption of a commitment to reciprocal love or the hope of such love.
This love seeks to woo the beloved in anticipation of an appropriate relationship in one of the major categories of love: storge (family), philos (friends) and eros (spouse).
Using the natural laws we can see how to strengthen our relationships.
Stalking, inappropriate physical intimacy, bonds that strangle, or drive a wedge and imprison are all indications of abusive intentions.
- Building Commitment.
Commitment is the intention that emotionally compels one to make an oath to agree to do something for another no matter the cost and to
make that pledge even when it is injurious to you and to stick to that pledge long after is seems reasonable.
Commitment is a singular affair. You can only have and maintain true commitment in yourself, not another.
How does one build and maintain commitment alone.
This type of commitment is possible for all types of love.
However, there is a hierarchy. We love God first, then self, then spouse, then family, then friends.
A hierarchy does not imply importance. It implies the reliability of the one making the commitment.
- Physical (Build Resources). The ability to fulfill your commitment depends on the resources you believe will be available.
You can build greater commitment by pledging more resources.
God pledged His Son. We show off our wealth and bodies.
- Mental (Share Burdens).
You can strengthen commitment by sharing burdens.
- Spiritual (The Plural One).
Commitment is a singular affair except in two instances. The only exception is the Godhead and a marriage constructed by God.
When the two truly become one then they can act as one and make a commitment as one and share or trade off burdens as one.
When the weight of the commitment threatens to destroy you, then the strength of being one who is more than one will internally uphold you.
- Temporal (Time Management). Strengthening commitment means dedicating more time. Spreading out the commitment over time conserves resources and strength by giving us time to recoup and regenerate.
- Acquiring Cooperation. The ability to efficiently keep your commitment is enhanced if the object of your pledge is not working against you.
So you must draw them to you or woo them.
- Show Of Intent. Your massive commitment should be enough to show the honor of your intentions, but agape love seeks to woo our enemies.
Such good intentions can be viewed as a trap so you must do more than show how committed you are.
- Legal. When you make your intentions public and legal (subject to punitive damage) then the object of your good intentions feels the legitimacy of your intentions.
- Communication. Stating your intentions repeatedly also helps the beloved to feel secure.
- Mutual Commitment.
When a lover and beloved independently make a personal commitment to pledge their life, their love, their honor and their resources to each other forever under all circumstances then that is agape love.
- Building Bonds. Strengthening bonds involves either better bonds, bigger bonds or more bonds.
There is a danger of imprisonment if bonding becomes excessive.
The design of the sanctuary shows that there must be space between the two lovers and that Jesus Christ is the strong force that keeps us together as we are apart.
- Better Bonds.
Enduring love can be sparked by these godly character traits.
- God. God at the center is a powerful and unbreakable force which pulls two together.
Knowing God allows you to understand another's value.
- Spiritual. Have many important things in common, especially Religion.
Be attracted to the kindness and goodness of another person not on the exterior.
Beauty can be carved with the knife of a skilled surgeon but character is not a surgical implant and is more than skin deep.
Beauty fades, character is forever.
- Mental. Make memories together with words and acts of kindness to others.
- Temporal. Spend both quantity and quality time together.
- Communication. Be more honest, more spontaneous and listen more.
- Reciprocated. Nothing builds a bridge faster than when is a line thrown across a chasm from one side is picked up from the other side. Returning overtures of love is the fastest path to mutual love.
- Kindness And Compassion. Your godly traits are attractive to those who love God. The wicked will see this as something to exploit or an oasis when they are in trouble.
Let the abuser know that you are aware that you are being used, but that you choose to still be friends because you value other human beings.
Then you are not being exploited and agape love can continue to show kindness.
- More Bonds.
When a relationship is thriving, it is time to make some of these resource-hogging bonds.
- Family. Have children, adopt or commit to a long-term sponsorship of a needy child.
- Public. Make your relationship known to the world. A secret relationship is a shameful one. Baptism is our way of letting the world know that we have chosen God.
- Legal. Formalize your bond through the legal process. Get married.
- Financial. Your can acquire mutual debt that will support your family. Buy a house, or an education.
- Bigger And Stronger Bonds.
The best way to make a bigger rope is to coil smaller ropes in one.
- 3-Ply. God, you and your spouse are the three who act as one.
There is an optimum number of strings to make the best bond. At some point more is less.
Too many interwoven strings make a bulkier and rigid bond or a web that traps.
- Bungee Cord Bonds Or Chains?
Physical bonds are less likely to break if there is some elasticity in the fibers.
Lasting emotional bonds are only effective if they are voluntary and there is freedom.
The sanctuary design requires space between the two.
So in all cases a stronger bond is a more forgiving and flexible bond.
- Massive Resources. You need to add the time and resources to build the relationship.
Some bonds are worth the time, resources and effort to build. Next to a spouse, a mother and child share the most intimate of physical relationships than any other.
A baby essentially starts with some aspects of an unrequited relationship-appropriate twin of eros. It is a selfish, physically intimate relationship that is expected to grow into the most significant relationship of a child outside of marriage and parenthood.
- Conserve Resources.
This involves removing bonds that drain your time and resources and putting those assets into the new relationship.
» New Bonds.
You cannot strengthen your bond by adding more bonds that require your time and resources.
When a relationship is failing or new it is a mistake to create bonds that will require huge resources.
It is a mistake for you and it is a mistake for those who require your best. Don't have children to save your marriage,
» Old Bonds (Leave And Cleave). In the case of marriage you must loosen strong old bonds so that your spouse becomes the strongest bond.
All adult relationships such as parents, siblings, friends, close friends of the opposite sex and old lovers must take second place to this bond.
» Financial. Get out of debt. Create debt that will be beneficial in the future.
Spend $20,000 on the down payment for a home or discharging old debt, not on a wedding.
Financial problems and children are some of the biggest issues in a marriage.
- Bonding Material (The Senses).
Beauty in all its forms attracts. It is the beauty that does not fade which will maintain an enduring relationship.
We evaluate what is attractive and appealing by our senses.
Although these are superficial they can reflect how much you love yourself and probably indicate how you will treat others.
As you build your bigger, better, multiple bonds present them with an awareness of how they will appeal to the senses.
However, these behaviors must be genuine. They cannot be part of the list of things you must do to be successful.
They must be the delightful set of things that you do because they are you.
Unfortunately, in our hedonistic society it is the outward shine that counts, not the inner beauty.
The world is constantly offering wealth, surgically enhanced body parts, tight clothes and painted beauty as the bait to lure and maintain a mate.
It is the image that counts, not the reality. This approach to love is guaranteed to bring joy only when you think you are envied.
- Sight. Attractive deeds and a smile.
- Sound. Attractive words are compliments and praises and even stern warnings.
- Smell. God compared prayer to the sweet smell of incense coming from the altar. The ability to apologize with deep sincerity is not a sign of a wimp or a door mat. It is a sign of an adult who can deal fairly and rationally in a long-term partnership that requires listening, giving and receiving.
- Taste. God always used a meal and tests of hospitality to begin a relationship.
The wives of Isaac, Jacob and Moses were chosen because of their kind acts of offering water.
- Touch. Use touch wisely. Infants who are properly fed and cleaned will die if they are not touched. Adults will call the police if you touch without a clear invitation.
Sometimes doing your best or putting your best forward means that you have to put yourself last to help others.
Someone who is truly seeking a mate who reflects the values of God will find you serving God among the poor in your less than the best.
Severing Love (Insurance).
If you do not have God in your family then manage your risk and plan for failure.
- Prenuptial Agreement. Protect the assets you have before the marriage and those you will acquire during the marriage.
If an agreement stipulates how often you should cook, the minimum weight you can gain and other personal requests let them hire a housekeeping service and a prostitute but this level of control is not loving. This person will abandon you for the next image of perfection that they meet.
- Education. Make sure you can take care of yourself and your children in case of death and divorce.
- After Market Assets. Take care of your body and your appearance because these are the assets that matter to the ungodly.
Hate. Rape and spiritual possession are all examples of brutal, forced intimacy.
Salvation Intimacy (Holy Spirit Possessed). The indwelling Holy Spirit is our constant companion who expresses the love of God and who will teach us how to love.
The Love Of God (Holy Spirit).
The role of the Holy Spirit is described in terms of intimacy.
He is the one who lives inside us.
He is the constant Companion who prepares the bride of Christ for her marriage.
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter [Helper, beside-caller, One called-beside, parakletos], that he may abide with you for ever;
(John 14: 16)
Love Science (Dopamine And Phenylalanine (PEA)). These hormones provide intensity and focus.
The Fifth Love: Reciprocated Agape (Loving God).
We only recognize four loves in the Greek language, but there is a fifth.
God is a fountain of agape love, perpetually giving and giving without receiving.
We become aware of true love when we first realize how much we are loved.
The Origin Of Love.
We love him, because he first loved us.
(1 John 4: 19)
How do we respond to such love? How do we love God in return?
God gives us one clue about returning love to Him. It is easy.
Obedience To God Is The Sign Of Love.
If ye love me, keep my commandments.
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
(John 14: 15, 21)
Follow The Example Of Jesus.
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
(John 15: 10)
Obeying God Is Not A Difficult Request.
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
(1 John 5: 3)
- Trust. We begin to love God by learning to trust Him.
When we trust God, we will respond to His love.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
(1 John 4: 18)
This is a special stage of love that mimics the growing love of a child for its parents.
» Trust And Obey.
Obedience in trust is the greatest indication of our love.
It is easy to say we love, but it is harder to show that we love.
Words are easy, actions are harder. Let your actions show that you love.
The heroes of the faith trusted and submitted and showed us that they loved God and why God admired them so much.
They did not ask why God would ask them to do strange things. They just obeyed.
If only we knew that in all these strange things God will be telling us what He will suffer for us.
God showed us His love in these strange acts. God invites us to share these experiences with Him because He is seeking empathetic friends.
The person who will trust and obey God in these things will always be loyal, will show gratitude and will never complain.
We would not know love unless God loved us and showed us and taught us how to love and paid the price of love because God is Love!
- Ezekiel. Cook with dung (Ezekiel 4: 12).
- Abraham. Kill your child (Genesis 22: 2).
- Hosea. Marry a prostitute who will still be open for business and LOVE her (Hosea 1: 2).
- Church. Eat My flesh and drink My blood (John 6: 53-58).
- Wives. Submit (Ephesians 5: 20-33 and Colossians 3:18).
- Jeremiah. Give up everything and go naked and barefoot (Isaiah 20: 2-3).
- Loving Others. Since God is temporarily physically beyond our reach, we spread the love by doing what God's love did for us - loving everyone, even the unlovely.
Love By Proxy.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
(Matthew 25: 34, 44-45)
In fact, we can discover the love of God by loving others and recognizing the great value of everything created.
The proof that we can love God is our ability to genuinely love a stranger.
This is why marriage is the model of our relationship with God.
It is a love between strangers that leads them from enemies to philos to storge to something greater, more permanent and the only opportunity to be fruitful.
Loving One Who Is Not Me.
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
(1 John 4: 20)
- Unconditional Reciprocated Agape.
This is how we love God.
Conditional love is sometimes disguised as reciprocal love until testing exposes its real motives.
Have you ever been angry with God because he did not answer your prayers?
Then your love for Him is conditional.
Under these circumstances you will abandon God as soon as God becomes a liability.
Take the case of Peter who swore that when things got rough he would never abandon Jesus. He probably believed it.
Now we know what happened. Peter denied Jesus three times, even cursing to emphasize his indignation at the association and to save his pitiful skin.
The reason why he failed is revealed in this conversation with the resurrected Jesus.
1 (Agape). So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest [agapas] thou me more than these?
He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love [philo] thee.
He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
2 (Agape). He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest [agapas] thou me?
He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love [philo] thee.
He saith unto him, Feed my sheep [Shepherd the sheep].
3 (Philos). He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest [phileis] thou me?
Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, lovest [phileis] thou me?
And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love [philo] thee.
Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
(John 21: 15-17 with Words from the Greek interlinear)
Jesus gave up by the third exchange. For now, Peter could only love Him with philos.
Even after this point Simon still only loved Jesus with philos love, not agape.
By the end of the conversation, he still did not understand that agape was the love that would shepherd the sheep in adversity.
A shepherd who would not flee from the wolves leaving the sheep at the mercy of predators is the shepherd with agape love.
Phileo could only feed the lambs and sheep.
By the end of his life Peter knew the difference.
» Human Or Godly Love.
Why was Peter so dense? There is a possible reason for Peter's confusion.
In the Pagan Greek concept of love, philos was the highest form of love for a friend.
For Peter, agape love would be equivalent to "hesed" love in Hebrew. This means that agape was limited to God.
So Jesus could "agape-hesed" Peter but, as a mere human, he could only "philos-ahab" Jesus.
The commandment is to "love neighbor as self". When the only choice remaining is self or neighbor what do you do?
Philos and storge would deny a loved one to save self, but agape would never. Agape appears to love others more than self.
In Peter's world only God was capable of such love.
However, Jesus' words show us that God expects us to love with hesed-agape.
- One Love.
The love for God supersedes all love.
The love for God is the best of all loves rolled up in one.
When love becomes a working reality and not a feeling or statement it is where we find that
God is love.
- Philos (More Than Friends). We must love God more than our friends.
And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
(Matthew 10: 21-22)
- Storge (More Than Family). We must love God more than family.
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
(Matthew 10: 37)
- Eros (More Than Spouse). We must love God more than our most intimate friend.
Living in the New Jerusalem in the midst of us God is described as the bridegroom of the city of saints.
This is the picture of intimacy that our close connection with God will be.
Children grow up and leave the home, but like a bride and groom, strangers who choose to be together, we will come together and live together with God forever.
Stalking God: The Strong Bond.
... These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
(Revelation 14: 4)
- Agape (More Than Me). We must love God more than life itself.
And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.
He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it
(Matthew 10: 38-39)
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
We love him, because he first loved us.
(1 John 4: 18-19)
Agape shows that love is a choice.
Love is the choice that makes you continue to seek and provide the good FOR others.
Hopefully, it will generate good IN others.
True love ignores feelings and personal consequences in order to pursue this goal of helping others.
To that end, God is the ultimate model of love.
God is love.
Study to show yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2: 15
||Time: 90 minutes
Print: 16 pages
First Created 13 October 2012.
Love. URL: http://www.dabhand.org/Word%20Studies/Love.htm
Author: Laverna Patterson. Editor: Patterson (September 2013)