Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day

I remember as a child in grade school, we had decorated boxes on our desks to receive valentines from the other kids.  Our parents bought us packet of card to write names of our classmate and drop them into the boxes.  We gave every child a card, boy or girl.  As we got older the Valentine became more sophisticated and personal.  But all of them asked one question, "Will you be my Valentine?"  Each was an expression of love.  

Aw, love, that is the subject.  The question has been asked, what is love.  I have heard many replies to this question.  Most referred to the affection of one gender toward the other.  (Let me digress here a little to say that the satisfying a sexual desire is not LOVE!).  The Bible talks of three kinds of love.

The first is the word "phileo", from which the word Philadelphia comes, and means a brotherly kind of love.  This would be the bond of close friendship.  When in college, I had a roommate that was especially close.  We would be together as often as possible.  If I needed any thing that he could help me with, he would.  I would do the same for him.  We had a close bond, not sexual, but close friends.  Another, close friend contacted me recently, after many long years.  He let me know that he has cancer.  I love those guys.  My heart rejoices when I hear from them, and my heart aches to know that one has cancer.  He lost his wife a year ago.  This is a love for our fellow man.  If we do not have this kind of love, we truly miss something.

The second word is "Eros", from which we get the word erotic.  This is the attraction of one gender to the other.  This is a physical love, and a love that is not to be abased.  This word was so perverted that it is not used in the New Testament.  This kind of love is reserved to a husband and wife.  This kind of love is forbidden outside of marriage.  

The third is the word "agape" which is a self-sacrificial love.  This is the kind of love God has for us, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son..."  Some have rightly said that agape love is a God love.  Only God can give us this kind of love.  This is the ultimate love that God desire that each of us would have for Him.  Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love (agape) me?"  Peter answers, "Lord, you know I love (phileo) you."  This was asked three times.  Oh, how Jesus would have loved to receive the answer - I phileo you!  

This is the kind of love that compels us to tell others of Jesus.  In Revelation 2, the letter to Ephesus Jesus tell the church that they lost their first love.  They were doing good things, the church attendance was good, and it seemed that all was well, but they had lost their zeal for Jesus.  We need to regain the love for others about Jesus, but this will not happen unless we regain our agape love for Him.  It is our love for Jesus that drives us to obey His command to "Go and make disciples...."

This Valentine's day and every day, lets reclaim our first love!!!