"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love..." Galatians 5:22
Forgive me today, but I must use the actual Greek words here to get us started, 1) eros, 2) stergo, 3) phileo, and 4) agape. Each of these words means "love, " but each has a very different meaning.
Eros is sexual kind of love, but it has a negative connotation. It is a sexual desire that is self-focused, self-gratifying, self-seeking and only self-pleasing. This type of love is focused only on receiving rather than the heart of giving. It is destructive because it is not love in the sense that God wants us to understand it. Don't misunderstand, sexual desire is from God, but it should be focused on giving and receiving, it is lovingly caring for someone, and together you fully give yourselves. Intimacy done right is the closest thing to heaven we can experience on earth. Eros is about total selfishness!
Stergo is a type of love some may not have heard. It is a type of love a parent has for a child, a good friend has for another good friend, even the type of love (if you can see it) that a dog has for his master (not to belittle it in any way). We would call it devotion! In 2 Timothy 3:3 Paul uses it in the negative sense to say that one of the signs of the end times is that people will lose their devotion to one another and there will be a breakdown of the family. We see that now!
Phileo, you have heard of it in the root, in the city name, Philadelphia, the city of "brotherly love." It means so much more than that. It is affection for someone as the feeling boyfriends and girlfriends have. It can also be the feeling that two good friends have for each other, people that feel connected, complimentary of one another, compatible to one another, an affability shared between two friends. As loving and caring as this is, it is still not agape.
Agape is the type of love Paul is talking about here. It is this type of love that is part of the Spirit of God. Agape occurs when an individual sees, recognizes, understands, or appreciates the value of an object or a person, causing the viewer to behold this object or person in great esteem, awe, admiration, wonder, and sincere appreciation. When a person awakens to this type of love, they are compelled to love it, and this same love becomes irresistible. John 3:16, For God so "loved" is the agape love. When God looked at mankind, he so appreciated, recognized the value of, even though we were bound by Satan, He saw our potential. His love for us was so intense that He was compelled to action, to save us from our bondage.
Agape is a love that loves so profoundly; it knows no limits or boundaries in how far, wide, high, and deep it will go to show that love to its recipient. It is a self-sacrificing kind of love that moves the lover to action. This is the love God has for us and the love he pours into us to shave with others. It is not dirty or profane it is true love with no strings attached.
When you love with such a pure love that you expect nothing back in return, it is impossible for you to feel hurt or let down by the response of the recipients of your love. You don’t love them for the purpose of getting something in return; you shower them with love simply because you love them. This is the way God loves us, so much so that He laid down His life for us and the love He expects us to pour into others.
This is the type of love you have and can have if you are filled with the Spirit. Just say'in lots of people talk about moving in the Spirit, but they don't love like this, let's get this right first!