By Kevin Guigou – Associate Pastor
Last week, Pastor Kevin shared that our life is a love story – we worship God, the ultimate expression of love, to become like Jesus, the perfect model of love, and to fully experience his love among God’s people. He dove deep into the agape form of love.
This week, he shares about another aspect of love, phileo.
Philos is the New Testament word for “friend.” From that root, we get many important biblical words that usually reflect a warm, friendly affection or fondness.
Its verb phileō is used 25 times and can sometimes mean “to like.” For example, philadelphia is the love between siblings (that’s where the city got its name). Philēma means “a kiss.”
Phileō love can also refer to godly love. We know that God loves us (agapē), but he also likes us (phileō)!
Jesus is our friend. (philos, John 15:13-15). Biblically, they are fond of us!
The Darby and Nyland translations lean into that idea…
“for the Father himself has affection [phileō] for you, because ye have had affection [phileō] for me, and have believed that I came out from God.” John 16:27 Darby
“In fact, the Father himself likes [phileō] you, because you have liked [phileō] me…” John 16:27 Nyland
John 5:20 reminds us that the Father has a warm, friendly affection (phileō) toward his Son, Jesus.
“For the Father loves [phileo] the son and shows him all that he himself is doing…” John 5:20 ESV
Surely we should, too. Paul himself used strong language to emphasize our feelings of affection for the ascended Lord.
“If anyone is not fond of [phileō] the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema! Maranatha!” 1 Corinthians 16:22 Concordant Literal
“Anyone who loves [phileō] their father or mother more than me [Jesus] is not worthy of me; anyone who loves [phileō] their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” Matthew 10:37 NIV
“Grace be with all who have an undying love [agapē] for our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 6:24 NRSVUE
The Love of Christ
We often speak of the love of God, but we should also deeply consider the love of Christ. Second Corinthians is blunt in saying that the love [agapē] of Christ compels us.
“The Messiah’s love has hold of us…” 2 Corinthians 5:14 CJB
That word for “compels” is a forceful term meaning a type of “pressing” that drives us, urges us on, constrains us, and holds us together.
When we truly discover the love of Christ, it begins to rule our lives from the inside. That’s why many translations use the intense wording, “the love of Christ controls us.”
We love from our free will, but the Master’s overwhelming love leaves us no true choice but to love him and others.
“Let love [agapē] be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.10Be kindly affectionate [philostorgos] to one another with brotherly love [philadelphia], in honor giving preference to one another.” Romans 12:9-10 NKJV
These two verses show us four expressions of love. The words here insist that our agapē love not be overly critical.
Paul commands us to violently hate evil and to glue ourselves to the good.
In a single word, philostorgos richly combines philos (friend) and storgos (the cherishing fondness between family members). It vividly emphasizes the tender affection that we should experience as we eagerly honor each other in God’s family.
God’s love isn’t nebulous, intangible or mushy. It’s the life of Jesus spilling out.
His love is not mere theory.
What Does This Love Look Like?
Love visits and listens.
Love forgives and builds.
Love is willing to step back or to step forward.
Love can happen when loud people choose silence or when quiet people get loud.
Love is willing to either follow or lead.
Love is usually more dirty than sanitized.
Messy in its perfection.
Love isn’t usually a straight line to a solution, but is willing to patiently navigate conflicting details toward the greater common good.
Love is often measured in time invested and in little pieces of life sacrificed.
The life of love is happy to do amazing anonymous acts. There’s nothing more muscular and nothing more gentle than the love of God.
The love of God doesn’t announce how spiritual it is or how much it knows. Folks meet God in our love.
They are introduced to the living Jesus when we shock them with undeserved mercy. They get a whiff of kingdom affection in our selfless service.
The power of the spirit overflows most freely from an “others-focused” agapē lifestyle.
Any believer can love. Anytime. Anywhere. No matter the outcome, the love of God never falls or fails; it always wins.
Just think, speak and act like our loving Jesus. Every time we do, we’re engulfed in God’s presence as we heal our world.