“On journey to becoming whole-hearted followers of Jesus”
“Love: Life Focused Objective”
“…everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7
Designer clothes are known by their trademarks or designs. You can know if it’s a Tommy Hilfiger or a Ralph Lauren. They have trademarks that make them very visible and very identifiable.
Those who hold an office of a unique kind can be identifies by their attire. You can know a doctor by the lab coat and stethoscope or a police officer by their uniform or a judge by the black robe he or she might wear.
God has set forth something as irrefutable evidence that we are close to God—an irrefutable test by which you can measure your own spiritual growth. In fact, so awesome is this trademark of God that He said it would be a major declaration of your faith. Jesus put it this way when He said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, that you love one another.” (Taken from Tony Evans Book of Illustrations, p 197).
Love is the key marker in the life of the believer. Not the kind of love that has taken shape in the cultural/social dimension of our lives, but the focused, sacrificing, life-transforming kind of love that Jesus taught and exemplified.
First, let me offer you a quick insight to the New Testament: there are four words used in the first-century world that we translate with the same word l-o-v-e. 1) Eros—we actually get the word erotic from this word though in all fairness to Eros it isn’t so base. It means the tender love expressions that exist between a husband and wife who truly have each other’s interests and needs at heart. It has definite physical overtones to be sure, but it goes well beyond that. 2) Storge—the love that exists between a parent and child. As a parent I recognize that there is something special about the way I relate to my children…all seven of them. It is more that pride about a well-accomplished task or the joy one experiences in the festive moments. It is the pain of discipline, the patience of immaturity, the longing to grow to full potential that keeps the loving parent engaged in the life of their child even beyond the “formative” years. 3) Then there is Phileo, the root of Philadelphia, city of brotherly love. I’ve been to Philadelphia and have no interest in sharing my opinion about its namesake. I will tell you however, that the New Testament word talks about deep, abiding friendship (see Jonathan and David as example) that makes one willing to sacrifice most anything on their behalf. It is the kind of friend that even thought time and distance may separate, still have heart connections! 4) Lastly, there is agape—the sacrificial kind of love that always seeks the interest of the one loved, meeting them where they are at with the tools necessary to meet need.
Notice that there is overlap among the words…intentional on their part. For you see, love is the core element in the life among relationships, those close and those not as close. It is heartfelt expressions that find root in God himself, and then among those He has created. To be in relationship with God is to love others, to paraphrase John in 1 John 4. We cannot escape the admonitions and example of Christ in this matter of love. He was willing to break social, cultural, and economic barriers to touch lives with the kind of love that transforms. And he does more than recommend such a lifestyle among his followers.
So as we celebrate February, take some time to brush up on your love language. Start in Romans 12:8-21 and go from there. Enjoy the delight of your spiritual designer label!!!
Growing with you on the Journey,