I know that these devotions may sound like a broken record, but it is so important that we understand exactly what we're getting ourselves in to. This word love; in English, I think we've watered it down to the point where it is no longer as full of meaning as it should be. We say we love pizza, our dogs, our spouses, our kids, our classmates, our students, our cars, our TVs, this or that show or song...fill in the blank.
The word love is powerful. In Koinonia Greek, they have 4 words to describe it (C.S. Lewis has a book I highly recommend called The 4 Loves that describes this in greater detail than I could). The first of these words is Storge; it's an empathetic love, as one has for family, or close bond. It's the love we feel for family, or our closest friends. defined (According to the article of C.S. Lewis on Wikipedia--See the link below): " It is described as the most natural, emotive, and widely diffused of loves: It is natural in that it is present without coercion, emotive because it is the result of fondness due to familiarity, and most widely diffused because it pays the least attention to those characteristics deemed "valuable" or worthy of love and, as a result, is able to transcend most discriminating factors. Lewis describes it as a dependency-based love which risks extinction if the needs cease to be met. " The second love is Philia-Friend love: " The friendship is the strong bond existing between people who share common values, interests or activities. Lewis immediately differentiates friendship love from the other loves. He describes friendship as "the least biological, organic, instinctive, gregarious and necessary...the least natural of loves". Our species does not need friendship in order to reproduce, but to the classical and medieval worlds it is a higher-level love because it is freely chosen." The Third: Eros-Romantic Love: " for Lewis was love in the sense of "being in love" or "loving" someone, as opposed to the raw sexuality of what he called Venus: the illustration Lewis used was the distinction between "wanting a woman" and wanting one particular woman – something that matched his (classical) view of man as a rational animal, a composite both of reasoning angel and instinctual alley-cat " The Last, and by far, the most important is the word used most in the Bible to describe love: Agape, or " Charity (agápē, Greek: ἀγάπη) is the love that exists regardless of changing circumstances. Lewis recognizes this selfless love as the greatest of the four loves, and sees it as a specifically Christian virtue to achieve. The chapter on the subject focuses on the need to subordinate the other three natural loves – as Lewis puts it, "The natural loves are not self-sufficient" – to the love of God, who is full of charitable love, to prevent what he termed their "demonic" self-aggrandizement. " Why is this so important? Because we need to understand that love is not an idle thing to be thrown around. It is a choice. We choose to love God, as He has chosen us, or we choose to love ourselves. Even how we follow God speaks of this. Jesus said, in no uncertain terms, "If you love me, you'll keep my commandments (John 14:15)." This love means this: we lay down our own lives, our wants, wishes and desires, to make Jesus' will most important. We give up all to follow after Him, and as we do, we begin to conform to His image. That is hard for us to do! Our natural (and fleshly) instinct is self-preservation. That is our state apart from God is the seeking after and preservation of self. To follow Jesus, we need to do as He did, to put aside ourselves, love the Father, and love those who He loves (hint: that's everyone). We need to live sacrificially, giving up our rights, as Jesus put aside His godhood, and love God wholeheartedly, caring for His people. It's time to stop making love an idle word, and make it, instead, a way of life. (References: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Four_Loves )
John 14 English Standard Version (ESV)
I Am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life
14 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;[a] believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?[b] 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”[c] 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also.[d]From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me[e] anything in my name, I will do it.
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper,[f] to be with you forever,17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be[g] in you.
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.
25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, 31 but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.
a John 14:1 Or You believe in God
b John 14:2 Or In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you
c John 14:4 Some manuscripts Where I am going you know, and the way you know
d John 14:7 Or If you know me, you will know my Father also, or If you have known me, you will know my Father also
e John 14:14 Some manuscripts omit me
g John 14:17 Some manuscripts and is