Love defined – Agape Part 1

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The other day, I was reading a devotional about love, based upon the ever-famous “Love” chapter in the Bible. Even though I have read this chapter over a hundred times in my life, I broke down in tears reading a particular verse in the passage. Whether the reaction was because of this season of tightly-wound emotions (Corona), or because the Spirit intentionally spoke to my heart – I think it’s both – I am grateful. I read and reread the chapter in various versions and have been inspired to write down my thoughts.

Over the next six posts, let’s digest 1 Corinthians 13. There is so much in this chapter that we will only grace the surface of, but hopefully we will dig enough to entice you to read it with fresh eyes and help you go deeper on your own.

LOVE //
A word thrown around so much, the meaning often becomes muddled and misunderstand. We use it to talk about our likes and dislikes (pizza or tacos?), our favorites (pop music or jazz?), our romantic lives (love versus lust), our BFFs, how we view the world (love the feel of Paris, hate the smog in LA), etc. We can and should have strong feelings for the “this and thats” of the world around us. But in all of this, my initial question was… is the sacredness of love sullied by meager pursuits, overuse and inaccurate verbiage?

Early on I want to make note of the different versions of love most famously written about by C.S. Lewis in “The Four Loves” and based upon the Greek origin of the definitions of love. Yes, definitions! I had to school myself, revisiting the “four loves” before I found more meaning in 1 Corinthians 13.

Here are the four loves and a basic definition for each to set us up for the main topic of my post series //

Storge – Affection, most often experienced in life as fondness and familiarity (this is where all of our likes and dislikes fit) 1

Philia – Friendship, kinship, intertwined relationships 1

Eros – Romantic love, based upon passion and emotion 1

Agape – Charity, unconditional love from our Father (God) to His Son, the love Believers strive towards  1

In answer to my initial question, all love is worthy of our attention and pursuit, yet we must come to a place of understanding that Agape love is where our striving should find its footing. “Affection, friendship and romantic love are each the training ground for charity to grow. It’s also a rival to the three. 1

Agape love… is not a feeling; it’s a motivation for action that we are free to choose or reject. Agape is a sacrificial love that voluntarily suffers inconvenience, discomfort, and even death for the benefit of another without expecting anything in return. 3

And so, here is where we find our foundation for 1 Corinthians chapter 13.

Recommendation // Read the chapter and we will begin digging in next post.

 


Helpful sites for further study //

  1. https://www.cslewis.com/four-types-of-love/
  2. https://brainworldmagazine.com/grasping-for-agape-unconditional-love-and-the-human-mind/
  3. https://www.compellingtruth.org/agape-love.html

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