Real Love

 
I am contending for you that your hearts will be wrapped in the comfort of heaven and woven together into love’s fabric. This will give you access to all the riches of God as you experience the revelation of God’s great mystery—Christ. —Colossians 2:2 (The Passion Translation)
 
Welcome to Crossroads! We’re glad you’re here today and trust that you will find hope, encouragement, and peace as you experience the presence and love of Jesus during worship. He truly does love YOU!
 
As we enter February, many of us associate this month with Valentine’s Day—a day set aside to express love to the people dearest to us. Does Valentine’s Day mean much to Americans? Consider this: Americans spent over Twenty Billion Dollars on this holiday in 2018! Apparently, people still believe in love, and are quite willing to pony up the cash to prove it. Florists, jewelers, restaurants, and greeting card companies are very appreciative, I’m sure!
 
One of the things that amazes me about the investment people are willing to make in relationships is that statistically, this is the most fickle generation in history when it comes to commitment. Marriage rates have bottomed out in recent years. Couples seem to prefer cohabitation—an arrangement that favors freedom over stability. The fallout from a lack of commitment is being felt in ways that are astonishing. Forecasts for the future of committed relationships look bleak, at best. Where can stability, certainty, and genuine trust be found?
 
When God created mankind, He endowed us with a capacity to form and to sustain life-long relationships. What a gift! In New Testament Greek, there are four unique words that are translated “love”:
 
(1) Phileo: A love that responds to affection, fondness, or liking. Kenneth Wuest writes, “It is a love that is called out of one’s heart as a response to the pleasure one takes in a person or object.” This kind of love involves giving as well as receiving, but when it is greatly strained, it may collapse in a crisis.
 
(2) Storge: A love that is based in one’s own nature; a natural affection or a natural obligation. This love manifests as a natural movement of the soul for spouse, child, or a pet. Storge is a deep settled feeling of satisfaction and appreciation. In other words, this kind of love makes you feel good all over. Who doesn’t need that?
 
(3) Eros: An overwhelming passion that seizes and absorbs itself into the mind. Eros is an emotional involvement based on body chemistry. A reason for Eros is self-satisfaction: “I love you because you make me happy.” The foundation of this love is a characteristic in the other person which pleases you. If that characteristic did not exist, the reason for love would also cease. Without Eros, the planet would be vacant. No Eros = No Babies. Not good!
 
(4) Agape: A love caused by the preciousness of the object loved. Agape treasures an object not based on its inherent worth, but on the ability of the Source to appreciate said object. Agape delights in giving. Agape keeps on loving even when the loved one or thing is unkind, unlovable, unworthy, or unresponsive. Agape is an unconditional love—possessed with a consuming passion for the well-being of others.
 
Our theme for this year is VISION 2020. If we’re going to grow stronger and healthier moving forward, we’ll have to do it together. As our world spirals into division and toxic self-absorption, you and I must be committed to each other. We must pray for and lift the burdens of those among us who are weary, weak, or wounded. In the words of St. Paul, “I am contending for you that your hearts will be wrapped in the comfort of heaven and woven together into love’s fabric” (Colossians 2:2). Only as you and I develop Agape love can we love one another for the other’s sake. This is a counter-cultural quality. Our world needs to see Agape love on living canvases—hearts that are attuned to our Lord Jesus and to each other. Agape love will change our families, our communities, and our world, one heart at a time.
 
On February 14th, you probably won’t be thinking about those you sit by in church on any given Sunday, but will you pray for your Faith-Family the other 27 days this month? We pray for you like Paul prayed for the saints in Colossae. We are “contending for you that your hearts will be wrapped in the comfort of heaven and woven together into love’s fabric.” This is true Agape love. That is REAL LOVE! May God bless you and keep you in His Agape love today and every day of your life.
 

We love you dearly! Pastors Glenn & Diann Randall