|Good Morning Everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “You are loved”
Our Bible verse for today: “Love the Lord your God will all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is, love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:30-31 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Not all love is the same.”
Would you agree that there are degrees of love? There are. I love ice cream, but I love my dogs more. I love my dogs, but I love my wife more. I love a crisp Fall day, but I love life more. And, I love myself, but I love God more. Not all love is the same. There are degrees.
In the ancient Greek language which the New Testament was written in (Koine Greek), there were four common words for love: “eros” (which isn’t used in the New Testament) is a possessive and sexual expression of love that is physical and often selfish; “storge” is the idea of family love or strong family-like affection for someone; “philos” defines love between close friends; and “agape” is the highest form of love. Agape is unconditional love that is not deserved or merited but which is freely bestowed, without restraint, and without limit. Agape is the best and purest expression of love.
Some form of the word “agape” is used over two hundred and sixty times in the New Testament. Most often it is used to describe God’s love for us. God’s love is unconditional, unlimited, and perfect. Other times however, agape is also used to describe the love we are to have for God and for others. That’s what Mark was describing in Mark 2:30-31 above.
Interestingly, the word “agape” is also sometimes used by New Testament writers in a negative way to illustrate a seriously misplaced love for something of this world. That was the case in 2 Timothy 4:10 where Paul tells us that Demas loved the things of the world so much that he deserted Paul and left the work of ministry. Demas had an “agape”, or all-consuming love, for the things of the world. His love for the things of the world was so strong that he was willing to sacrifice other things (like ministry and his friendship with Paul) in order to get it.
Agape love expressed fully and perfectly describes only God and is beyond the reach of us mere humans. And yet, it is the standard for which we are to strive. Family love and friendship love are admirable qualities, but it is “agape” that is the gold standard for love, and that should be our desire as we express our love for God and for others.
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