Bible Reading: 1 John 4:7-21
Over the next few days we are going to look at the first aspect of the fruit of the Holy Spirit – love.
There are four types of love referred to in the Bible. Each is described by a different Greek word. The first word ‘philia’ means close friendship or brotherly love. The word ‘philia’ and other forms of this Greek noun are found throughout the New Testament. Christians are frequently exhorted to love their fellow Christians. For example, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honour” [Romans 12:10 ESV].
The second word is ‘eros’ meaning sensual or sexual love. Although this Greek term does not appear in the Bible, ‘eros’, or erotic love, is clearly portrayed in the Song of Solomon.
The third word, ‘storge’ is family love. It is the natural love between mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers. As with eros, this Greek term does not appear in the Bible but there many examples of family love found in Scripture.
The fourth word is ‘agape’ and is selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love. It is the highest of the four types of love in the Bible. The word ‘agape’ is the word used to describe God’s love. It is the Greek word for love in the verse “God is love” [1 John 4:8].
God’s love is sacrificial. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son” [John 3:16]. The evidence of God’s love is that He gives sacrificially, and that to undeserving sinners like us. His love is also totally unconditional. A lovely verse in John’s Gospel says, “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus” [John 11:5]. He just loves them, not “if” or “but “when” or even because, but because He loved them.
The Holy Spirit wants to fill us with God’s love. Writing to the Christians in Rome, Paul says, “the love of God is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” [Romans 5:5]. Once again the Greek for love in this verse is ‘agape’. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is God’s love in our life. It is not human or natural love improved upon, but Divine life in human vessels of clay!
Can you think of any reason why God should love you? Why do you think that He does love you?
What do you think is the evidence that you love God?
Are there people who you find it very difficult to love? Would you ask the Lord to fill you with His love for those people?