Part 1: The 4-Degrees Of Loving God – Loving God With All Your Heart
God’s call, to us last week, was Just Show Up. But sometimes saying those words is much easier than actually doing them. This week we want to continue with that theme of showing up and delve deeper into our responsibility in being readily assessable for the Master’s use.
I believe one of the key disciplines to showing up or submitting to the Father is to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with our entire mind, and with all our strength. Jesus said it is the first commandment. (Mark 12:30, NKJV)
But what does loving God with all our hearts resemble? Or, how does it even feel?
The human heart has four chambers. It takes all four compartments, properly functioning together to supply the body with oxygenated blood. If one of these chambers were to stop operating, it could cause serious problems or even death. If our love could be divided into four parts, we could take this example and apply it to our love for God. It takes four portions to make a whole. We can’t halfheartedly love God because He doesn’t halfheartedly love us. He loved us wholly and so completely that He gave His only Son so that we could have eternal life.
Now, let’s go deeper.
Just as there are four chambers to the heart, there are four types of love in the Bible. The first type is Storge (storgē) – a bond of empathy or affection. The second type is Philia – a friend-like bond or friendship. The third type is Eros – a romantic type of love. And the fourth type is Agape – an unconditional “God” type of love. I believe that as we grow in our relationship with God, we go through all four of these stages.
When we first come to know God, through Christ, we experience the Storge type of love. The more familiar we become with Him, the more we develop a fondness for Him. It becomes a parent-child relationship. This type of love continues and develops into Philia –– a love that is as strong as the friendship between siblings. A relationship between two people who share common values, interests, or activities –– the kind of relationship where His desires become our desires, and our desires are His desires because we are one.
Next, we begin to experience the Eros type of love –– love in the sense of “being in love” or “loving” someone –– the kind of love that one would want to have when the marriage proposal comes. At this stage, in our lives, we would begin to feel that we couldn’t live without God. At this point we would start to realize that He is the very air that we breathe, and it is in Him that we live, move, and have our being. Once we have developed these three phases of love, our affection for God graduates into the Agape stage of love –– the unconditional. When our love, for God, is reciprocated back to us, as in spite of it all, I still love you. In essence, God is saying, it does not matter what your situation looks like, and it does not matter what you have done, come to Me and I will still love you.
Trying to love God, in the absence of one of these four parts, means not loving God with our whole heart. We have to give Him the left atrium, and the right atrium, the left ventricle, and the right ventricle. For, it is then, and only then, when we will have loved Him wholly.
The love between the Father and us ascends and descends on a vertical line –– God sends His love to us, and we send our love to Him. And the awesome thing about it is, He’s always there to receive.
Hallelujah! Praise God! Aren’t you glad about that?
Join me next week for Part 2 and Coffee on The Couch
Meet Me On The Couch
Meet Me on the couch, when neither mother nor father is there.
Meet Me on the couch, when you need a friend who cares.
Meet Me on the couch, when you need someone to love.
Meet Me on the couch, where you’ll find undeserved love.
– Author, Yours Truly