True love is an actionable one not based on emotion. We usually associate a mushy, warm, down-in-our-gut emotion with love and often mistake that lustful desire or fondness for true love. These feelings are necessary in many human relationships or situations; however, the foundational love we’re to exhibit is related to action. Let’s take a further look at these variations of emotion and actions often called love.
The Bible refers to love in three primary ways: (1) lust or desire; (2) fondness for a person or thing; (3) love not based on emotion but unconditional charitable action that comes from moral compelling. The two types of love based on emotional feeling are lust (or desire) and fondness. Lust is more short-lived than fondness, but both can fade as our feelings change. The latter type of love isn’t based on emotion and is purer and longer-lasting than the first emotion-based loves.
The Holy Scriptures reflect the following three major variations of love in these Greek root words:
- Epithumeo or epithumia for lust (examples include Matthew 5:27-28; Ephesians 2:1-3)
- Variations of phil (as in philanthropea or Philadelphia) for fondness (i.e. Mark 10:17-22, Titus 3:3-5, Hebrews 13:1, etc.)
- Unconditional, non-emotional love – :Agapao (Strong’s Greek G25): a verb representing morally-compelled action we’re to take as in, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” —1John 4:7. And Agape, a noun representing charitable manifestations that can occur because of compelling agapao love as in, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” —1John 4:7.
So, being ‘nice’ isn’t what God desires – it is actionable love that honors Him and treats His creation appropriately despite how we feel.
‘Feel’ or ‘do’ – which identifies you?