All “love” is not the same, despite the use of the same word, “love.”
John 21:17 – He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
While in our present world of “super-sensitized” speech, that is speech that has been created to keep from hurting anyone’s feelings, the word “love” can generally be categorized into four terms: AGAPE, PHILEO, STORGE, and EROS. There are major differences in their definitions.
First, we look at EROS. Simply stated, it refers to nothing more than physical intimacy, a phrase many people use as it regards the physical act of sex. They call it “making love.” In reality, EROS alone is nothing more than a physical exchange.
STORGE finds itself wrapped in emotions, even quite shallow ones, and relates to one’s sense of well-being or emotional fulfillment. It is a love based on the pleasure derived from the object of one’s love. For example, one loves a puppy until it relieves itself on the carpet. One loves chocolate chip ice cream until they see that ten extra pounds on the scales. One loves the flattering person until that flatterer becomes negative. Clearly, STORGE is a shallow love, but the hurt it can bring may settle deeply into one’s emotions bringing long-term hurt.
PHILEO is love of a truly high level. It is the love that is seen as growing and developing between spouses over years of marriage, between siblings (hence the phrase “brotherly love”), between parents and children, and between friends who have developed a strong relationship over time. It is truly powerful, and in our Text for Today, it is the word used by both Jesus and Peter in reference to Peter’s love for Jesus. Because of the close relationship that likely exists in people expressing PHILEO, it is often confused with the God kind of love, but it is different. Once again, PHILEO is based on a relationship, especially as it grows stronger over time.
AGAPE, however, is above them all. This is the God-love that Father had for the world as stated in John 3:16; He “so loved the world that He gave….” This is the love God shed abroad in the heart of every believer when he/she is born again. This is the love by which faith works. This is the love that is defined as “keeping His commandments.” It’s not about feelings or emotion. This love is totally about the character of God, and HE IS LOVE! And that should be our goal in life; to love one another as He loved us; to love one another because that is who we are; one with God; one with Jesus; love in the flesh; love that is the character of God Himself.
Manna for Today – John 21:15-19; John 14:15-17; 1 John 5:3; John 3:16; Galatians 5:6