“We love because God first loved us. If you say you love God but hate your sister or brother, you are a liar. For you cannot love God, whom you have not seen, if you hate your neighbor, who you have seen. If we love God, we should love our sisters and brothers as well; we have this commandment from God.” John 4:19-21 The Inclusive Bible Translation
Ahh, February, the cultural month of love. You see the decorations everywhere. There are hearts in school room windows, on bulletin board, and in store windows. All of this to celebrate love, a particular type of love. While in the English language we only have one work, love, in the Greek language there are three main words: eros, or romantic love, agape or sacrificial, unconditional love and phileo, or mutual love between friends.
The original New Testament writing were written in Greek and it is the words agape and phileo that we find used throughout the texts. In the John text above, agape is the word used for love. This is the highest form of love. This is the type of love God is and has for us. This is the form of love we strive to reach in our love for God, God’s creation and one another. This is no easy task.
Spiritual disciplines can shape our hearts. Study, prayer, worship, fellowship and acts of mercy are all disciplines that lead us towards a higher love of God and one another. Which spiritual disciplines are you engaged with on a regular basis? How are we working towards “perfection in love?” If you would like to talk to me about how you can begin or strengthen your spiritual disciplines, I would “love” to hear from you.