Love: So Simple, Yet So Complex?!

In the ‘60’s The Beatles sang “All You Need is Love” and in the ‘80’s Tina Turner once sang, “What’s Love Got to do with it?”, and in the late ‘90’s Bob Dylan wrote and sang, as well as Adele and many others since, “Make You Feel My Love”.

The ancient Greeks in the time of the philosophers Aristotle and Plato contemplated and theorized on this very deep issue. But due to the polytheistic (multiple gods) perspective, and yet there was not one of them that was absolute, they failed the see that the very One (Elohim) who gave them life, already held the answers. They in there very deep philosophical minds believed that they were providing the world with such deep information, when it was in fact God (YHWH, The Great I Am, Jehovah) that gave them this wisdom.

Love is a very complex subject, even though many see it as being a simple thing; one to be used to manipulate others to get what they want. The Greeks identified that there are 6 types of love: Eros – sexual or passionate love; Philia – friendship, is shared goodwill; Storge (pronounced ‘store-gae’) – familial love, is a kind of philia that pertains to parental love towards a child; Agape – universal love, such as the love for strangers, nature, or God. Unlike storge, it does not depend on filiation or familiarity; Ludus – playful or uncommitted love; and finally, Pragma, which is a kind of practical love founded on reason or duty and one’s longer-term interests. There is one that has recently been identified as Philautia, which is self-love.

I Corinthians 13 is known to many Christians who are familiar with the Bible, as The Love Chapter….

This is what it says, as written by the Apostle Paul, by unction/ inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit

The Greatest Gift

Though I (Paul) speak with the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.  2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  3And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body [to boast] to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not [arrogant] puffed up;  5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, [keeping no account/ tally of evil] thinks no evil;  6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;  7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.  9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part.  10 But when that which is [complete] perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Let us take a deeper look at that last verse, 13… Paul advises (instructs) the believers in Corinth as well as us today, who call ourselves followers of Jesus, to abide (remain stable or fixed in a state – grounded in) faith, hope and love. Faith is hope based on what Hebrews 11:1 identifies; Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence [confidence] of things not seen. So, if that is the case then I ask, wouldn’t it also be safe to say that the believer’s faith is a form of love and respect to God and His word? I believe so, but I will leave that for you to meditate on. 

As many know, this is the month of Easter. And though the world has commercialized this holy day, which is the crescendo to the day which is the GREATEST DAY OF LOVE. Easter is about The Resurrection of Jesus, not a mythical egg-laying/ hiding bunny rabbit. Sorry, but not sorry. Think about it, Jesus willingly laid down His life, so that ANYONE who would choose by their own free will to accept Him and His eternal gift of salvation, would have not on that, but so much more.

Here’s a special song that I believe will help someone struggling with feeling and or really understanding the matter and true depth to love.

As I pointed out, to be stable is to be grounded, which if you’re familiar with this organization, you know this is a foundational element of NHR. For those who are new here and have not heard of this, here’s the recap of what the acronym GROUNDED (Kidd, 2017) stands for.

First, we must recognize God, and that He IS. He is what? He is the One who not only created you but did so with a very specific purpose in mind. He’s also the One who provided His Son, Jesus as not only our gift of salvation but as a human example of Him; for us to see and understand that we as His creation is only limited to and by what we choose to believe.

Next is the matter of Respect. First, it is a matter of respect for Him as He gave us life. Respect for Jesus, for He gave us life more abundantly. For ourselves, for we are the greatest of all of the Creator’s creations. Why? Because we were created in His image, with a purpose and that purpose is to be a blessing to others who don’t know Him; to walk out His peace and love.

Next is Observant – be cognizant (aware) of your surroundings for your safety as well as that of others. Be alert to the things that are going on around you in the physical, which in reality is much more than many often give thought to.

Next is Understanding. Understand who your life and choices not only affect and or affect you, but others, both close to us and those we’ve possibly haven’t and may never meet.

Next is New Experiences. If you don’t like where you’re at – then YOU MUST CHANGE IT. Don’t lower your standards to live down to someone else’s expectations, but rather use that as motivation to propel you to a new destiny. Don’t practice insanity; doing the same thing over and over again, and yet expect a different result.

Next is Diligence; giving strict attention to and pursuing after the important. Look at what will make a radically positive change in your life, not just for today or tomorrow, but one that is long-lasting as well.

Next is Education. Education is all around you and it is continually making itself available to us. Especially in the information age in which we live. Just be smart enough to apply the previously mentioned elements of O, U, and N, so that you’re not taken advantage of.

And finally, we have Daily Effort. Though similar to diligence it is different in that diligence is more precise and focused. Whereas, daily effort is more general and all-encompassing.    

This blog has been on the matter of love, and it is a very complex subject, even though many see it as being a simple thing; one to be used to manipulate others to get what they want. In previous blogs I’ve talked about the matter of empowerment and that we must understand that empowerment comes through the full understanding of how things interact with each other. If we operate only by what the world tells us, we will never be fully empowered. Full empowerment is based on the understanding that God, The Creator (Elohim) has provided mankind. God has called His people to not walk in the ways of this world (I John 2:15-17) which is full of lies, deceit, and treachery. There are many who live focused on fulfilling their own desires; being lovers of self, seeking fame, possessions and wealth (II Timothy 3:1-5). But there is something far more important that we should be seeking, Truth. But not just any perceived version as the world would offer, but rather the real truth that is in Christ Jesus. So again, I pose the question of, ‘What is your focus on?’

References and Resources:

Burton, N (2019). These Are the 7 Types of Love. Blog. Psychology Today. Retrieved from blog/hide-and-seek/201606/these-are-the-7-types-love%3famp Retrieved on 23 March 2020.

Kidd, R. (2017). The Young Person’s Survival Manual: How to Survive in Today’s Ever-Changing World. ISBN: 9781629528953. Xulon Press. Maitland, FL.

The Holy Bible, New King James Version (1985). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.