A Child’s View of Love

A group of children were asked, “What does ‘love’ mean?” Here are some sample answers:

  • Rebekah, 8, said, “When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time—even when his hands got arthritis, too. That’s love.”
  • Billy, 4, said, “When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.”
  • Bobby, 7, says, “Love is what’s in the room at Christmas, if you stop opening presents and listen.”
  • Nikka, 6, says, “If you want to learn to love better, you should start with someone you hate.”
  • Tommy, 6, says, “Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.”
  • Cindy, 8, says, “During my piano recital, I was on a stage, and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me, and I saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. And I wasn’t scared anymore.”
  • Jessica, 8, says, “You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot.”

4 Kinds of Love

Throughout 1 Corinthians 13, the word used for love is agape. The meaning of agape love is more clearly seen by contrasting it with other kinds of love. There are essentially four kinds of love. The English language has only the one word love to describe all kinds of love, the Greek language had a different word to describe each kind of love.

Eros: This is passionate love or even lust. This is physical love. Eros love is the love that comes from your own inner passion. Sometimes eros love is focused on good and other times it is focused on bad. 

Storge: This is affectionate love or storge love. This is the kind of love that exists between a parent and a child.

Phileo: There is an endearing love that cherishes. This is the love of a brother for a brother, of a friend for the dearest of friends. It is the love that cherishes, that holds someone or something dear to one’s heart.

Agape: There is selfless and sacrificial love. Agape love is the love that goes so far …

      •      that it loves a person even if they do not deserve to be loved

      •      that it actually loves the person who is unworthy of being loved

What is Agape Love?

Selfless or agape love is the very love of God possessed by God Himself. It is the love demonstrated in the cross of Jesus.

  • It is the love of God for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6).
  • It is the love of God for unworthy sinners. (Romans 5:8).
  • It is the love of God for undeserving enemies.

Selfless or agape love is a gift of God. It can only be experienced by knowing God personally—only if a person has received the love of God into their heart and life. Agape love has to be poured out by the Spirit of God to the heart of a person.

Selfless or agape love is the greatest thing in all of life according to Jesus in The Great Commandments (Mark 12:29–31).

Selfless or agape love is the greatest possession and gift in life. (1 Corinthians 13:1–13).

The Priority of love

Paul expressed his commitment to the priority of love over other parts of a spiritual life.

  1. What if I could speak

all languages

of humans

    and of angels?

If I did not love others,

    I would be nothing more

than a noisy gong

    or a clanging cymbal.

2 What if I could prophesy

and understand all secrets

    and all knowledge?

And what if I had faith

    that moved mountains?

I would be nothing,

    unless I loved others.

3 What if I gave away all

    that I owned

and let myself

    be burned alive? I would gain nothing,

    unless I loved others.

There are several dangers in giving. There are the dangers of giving out of obligation or coercion, giving with bad attitude, giving with pride because you have and others don’t, and not giving sacrificially

APPLICATION: We must refocus our priorities, setting love of others as a higher standard than even service, and as a higher standard than even spiritual gifts.

The Character of Love

The Actions of love 

  • Love isn’t a feeling
  • Love isn’t a philosophy 
  • Love isn’t a physical desire

4 Love is kind and patient,

never jealous, boastful,

    proud, or 5 rude.

Love isn’t selfish

    or quick tempered.

It doesn’t keep a record

    of wrongs that others do.

6 Love rejoices in the truth,

    but not in evil.

7 Love is always supportive,

loyal, hopeful,

    and trusting.

1. Be patient

Ephesians 4:2 – Always be humble and gentle. Patiently put up with each other and love each other.

2. Be Kind

3. Be Humble

4. Be Unselfish

5. Don’t Keep Records of Wrongs, but keep records of the good.

6. Don’t give up!

Application: Our love for others must be demonstrated in the way we treat them.

The Permanence of Love

Paul compared love to the spiritual gifts the Corinthians valued so highly.

8. Love never fails!

Everyone who prophesies

    will stop,

and unknown languages

will no longer

    be spoken.

All that we know

    will be forgotten.

9 We don’t know everything,

and our prophecies

    are not complete.

10 But what is perfect

    will someday appear,

and what isn’t perfect

    will then disappear.

11 When we were children,

we thought and reasoned

    as children do.

But when we grew up,

    we quit our childish ways.

12 Now all we can see of God

is like a cloudy picture

    in a mirror.

Later we will see him

    face to face.

We don’t know everything,

    but then we will,

just as God completely

    understands us.

Love will last forever.

Love is our greatest need.

The Greatness of Love

13 – For now there are faith,

    hope, and love.

But of these three,

    the greatest is love.

Love is the greatest goal.

Questions to Consider

  1. Have you recognized God’s love for you?
  1. Are you letting God’s love flow through you?