A Talk With God About The Four Loves

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God, I have had reason to think about the word love lately. I’ve asked myself if it is more important to love or to be loved. I have come to one conclusion, so far: it depends on whether that question applies to Eros – love based on the physical, to Philia – love based on commonalities like family, close friends, and on the mind, or to Agape – the altruistic, selfless, spiritual love You give to me.

I know Your Spirit-Breathed Word says that we love You because You first loved us. You were the initiator and we are the responders. I know that love is part of the Fruit of The Spirit:

>The fruit of The Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control. (Galations 5:22-23) >

I know, God if I don’t have the fruit of The Spirit, then, the gifts of the Spirit are functioning in the flesh. When any believer walks in the Spirit, the fruit of The Spirit is produced automatically. When any believer is not walking in The Spirit, then the fruit of the flesh is produced. I’m clear on this much, so far, Lord.

There are so many “definitions” of love today: romantic, emotional, charity, ecumenical (tolerance), and on and on. Sometimes I think some people think John 3:16 was originally written like this:

>For God so loved the world…that He felt romantic about it…that He got a tingly sensation down His spine…that He had a friendly spirit of tolerance and brotherhood no matter what they believed…that He gave to the United Fund. >

In I Corinthians 13, Paul wrote what most believe was the greatest, strongest, and deepest thing that the Apostle Paul ever penned. It has been called The Hymn of Love, a lyrical interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount, and the Beatitudes set to music. I see it as a poetic masterpiece, hard to live up to. Why is that, God?

I think the reason it is so hard to attain is because Paul is using the word Agape in that chapter. It is the highest form of love: self-sacrifice. It seems so backwards to this world’s teachings on self-esteem.

>Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. >

I guess the reason I have been meditating on this portion of scripture is because I have someone whom I love that exhibits part of these qualities, but gets caught up in keeping a record of perceived failings on my part. I usually keep my mouth shut and take it because I am good at rationalizing rude or pejorative talk, especially if the person is tired or frustrated. I have known how to keep my mouth shut since I was a child living in a home with an erratic parent. But lately I have found it cuts deeper than I realized. I cannot take the pain and stress of it much longer.

How would You have me deal with this, Jesus? I look at Scripture and see times where You opened not your mouth, and then there are other times when you spoke up quickly and nipped it in the bud. I know there are consequences for either approach, and I need the guidance of Your Holy Spirit on this one.

CS Lewis said in his book Four Loves:

>There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable.
Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.
If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal.
Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.
But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change.
It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. >

Lord, I do not want to have an impenetrable heart. I want to be vulnerable without so much pain. Is this possible? I need Your Wisdom.

(c) 2009 April Lorier

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