A Love Worth Finding
The Greek language has four different words for love, describing the many dimensions of loving relationships:
- storge, conveys the idea of fondness or devotion.
- eros, connotes physical intimacy or sexual love.
- phileo is Greek for friendship or companionship love.
- agape, isdefined as unconditional, positive regard for the well-being of another or love-in-action-with-no-strings-attached.
Agape is the Greek word used for love in the following passage from 1 John: This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us… let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth… Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God… God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
(1 John 3:16-18, 4:7-10)
God’s loves us with agape- unconditional love. There are no “ifs” attached to God’s kind of love. He doesn’t love us “if” we love Him first. No, His love is not based on our merit or performance, nor on whether or not we’re lovely or lovable. He loves us even though we don’t deserve it. In fact, there’s nothing we can do to earn His love and there’s nothing we can do to make Him stop loving us. The Bible says in Romans 5:7-8 “Now no one is likely to die for a good person, though someone might be willing to die for someone who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”
That’s real love– a love worth finding ! And it’s the kind of love most needed in our marriages. God’s love can transform our love. When we open our hearts to Jesus Christ, “God’s love is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given to us” (Romans 5:5). And as we yield ourselves to Him, His indwelling Holy Spirit produces agape love within us (Galatians 5:22), empowering us to love, without requiring that we receive something in return. When we understand and experience the love of Christ, we are compelled to express it more fully in our marriage.
A growing relationship with Him will result in a growing ability to love our mate with His love.
One of the greatest gifts that Sue gives me is her unconditional love. Rather than trying to change me by criticizing me, she chooses to love me by quietly bearing with my faults (which I’m sure is sometimes difficult to do). Her unconditional love strengthens me and frees me to love her better in return. When you love your mate unconditionally, it frees her/him to change and be more the person God intends her/him to be. (Perfect love casts out fear-1John 4:18 ).
Maybe you started out your marriage on the right track, but somewhere along the way you’ve gotten side-tracked and stopped loving your mate-unconditionally. Perhaps you’ve found yourself trying to change him or her, focusing on the negatives. When you try to change your mate, you are putting yourself in a wrong position of authority and are actually trying to be God. Your mate then becomes defensive and resentful- and less likely to change. If this is your situation, maybe it’s time to confess your wrong to God and remember that only God can change lives.
Choose now to love your mate unconditionally and pray for your mate. A meaningful and lasting marriage is not built by finding a perfect, flawless person, but by finding God’s perfect love and allowing it to flow through one imperfect person — you, toward another imperfect person — your mate. 1 ©
1. Dennis Rainey, Building Your Mate’s Self-Esteem, Word Publishing, 1991 p134.
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