Friday, December 11, 2009


Love is very powerful. It has motivated many wonderful, and not so wonderful acts. Love has led to acts of heroism even to the point of death. Love has also motivated psychopaths to take lives. Love, in a way, is neutral; it is neither good or bad. Sacrificial love, love that costs, is seen as good. Selfish love, on the other hand, is not considered good. So, the expression of love is judged by its motivation and by its object. We are told in the Bible that the love of money is the root of evil. However, love for one's brother, and even for his enemies is viewed by God as good.

Greek, the language of the New Testament, has four kinds of love: eros, philio, storge, and agape. Eros is used to describe sexual love. Obviously this kind of love is judged based upon the relationship of the persons involved. Married partners expression of this type of love is seen as honorable by God, Who frowns on this expression of love between unmarried persons. Philio is the love two individuals have for one another, and is described as a "brotherly" love. It is the kind of love that David and Jonathan had for one another. Storge is the love that a parent has for a child. This kind of love used to be taken for granted, but humanity has proven that it is not a given. And, agape is the highest form of love. It is totally focused upon the well being of another. It does not require love in return, nor does it even need to be known to the recipient. It is a sacrificial love that puts others first. It is often expressed in anonymity.

An example of agape love is seen in the sacrifice of the Son of God for the sin of the world. In Proverbs 10:12, we are told that "Hatred stirreth up strifes; but love covereth all sins." When Jesus was asked which of the Commandments was the greatest, He replied that there were two of equal value (a tie for number one). In Matthew 22:35-40, Jesus said we are to love God AND our neighbor. Paul teaches that "Love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the Law" (Romans 8:8-10). Paul, in Galatians 5:14, tells us that "ALL of the Law is fulfilled in one word (figure of speech), even in this, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.'" So, if you want to know what the "rules for Christian living" are, they are summed up in the word, love.

This is not a new concept, and it does not apply to the Church only. The people of Israel were told the same thing in Leviticus 19:18. They could have been free from the Law by simply loving others. So God has not changed. He has always wanted people to love one another. But, why didn't He just say so? Why did He give all those many, many rules to Israel? Because, the Law shows us what love is. It is the "How to Love Book for Dummies." If you want to know how to love, keep the Commandments. If you want to know how to treat your family, neighbor, employer, and even your enemy, it is all there! The Law didn't put man in bondage. The Law taught man to recognize that his bondage was self made. He couldn't keep the Law because he did not love. "Love worketh no ill to its neighbor, therefore, love is the fulfillment of the Law!" Now that I know this, all I need to do is ask God to change my heart so that I can love. Only God can change me. Believe me, I have tried! So instead of trying to obey, I need to be filled with the Spirit of God, and the fruit will take care of itself. God bless in Jesus name.

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