What Does it Mean to be In Love?Being in love is a mysterious thing. What is its purpose? Why did God create it? Sexuality still works without being in love. Affection, agape love and friendship are all still possible without it. Many arranged marriages throughout the ages have no doubt been happy and healthy without the phenomenon of being in love. So, what does it mean to be in love? If you are in love, is there spiritual significance to what you are feeling?In Greek we have four different descriptions of the word love
1. Eros : Love between a man and a woman
2. Storge : affection, or familial love
3. Phileo :Love for a friend
4. Agape :Godly love, love in spite of not because of
The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis provides excellent definitions and explanations of the different types of love. In one of my favorite passages, Lewis says “Now Eros makes a man really want, not a woman, but one particular woman. In some mysterious but quite indisputable fashion the lover desires the Beloved herself, not the pleasure she can give.”We often think of Eros as being simply sexual feelings for someone. But Lewis’ point is that Eros is not defined by wanting sex. It is defined by wanting a person – independent of anything that can be gained from that person. So what does it mean, this longing for one particular person? Most of us have felt it. Logic and reason have no bearing on it. Nobody can talk you out of it – especially not yourself. And even when the person you love is completely out of reach, you will stubbornly continue to want them. What on earth could this possibly mean? If all things in creation reflect God’s character… what does it mean to be in love? A Wild AnimalIn my darker moments I have been tempted to say that Eros love is simply a creation of the devil, a useless, hateful state of mind that has been conjured up to torture humanity. But we know that Satan creates nothing, that he only perverts what is already there. And Eros is clearly not a perversion of one of the other loves – it stands alone. It must have been created by God to teach us something about God. But what? Song 8:6-7“Love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.”Song of Solomon, if taken literally, is clearly talking about erotic love. It says that this kind of love is like the very flame of the Lord, as strong as death, and unquenchable. I don’t think that means we are justified in following our feelings to the point of forgetting our obedience to God’s love, or forsaking the love we hold toward a friend, or doing something that hurts somebody else. No, Eros cannot exist alone. The loves work together. If Storge(affection, or familial love) is the scruffy family pet, Erosis a beautiful wild animal. And if it is going to live with us, it needs to be tamed and cared for so that it will not run wild and wreck our house. For example, a Christian woman may fall in love with a non-Christian man. But she knows that the Bible warns against marrying a non-Christian because it will cause her to be unequally yoked, and that will make her life difficult in lots of ways. If she trusts that God has her best interest at heart, she will not marry the man she loves. This is an example of Agape keeping Eros in check. Her friends’ love (Phileo) may render the same service by advising her and counseling her to trust God. Her parents or sibilings’ love (Storge) will follow the same pattern.God in LoveBut again, what is the point of Eros? What can we know better about God because romantic love is in the world? Is it possibly a reflection of something He Himself feels? It seems to me that the most obvious answer is this: the church is Christ’s bride. Not his friend, not his sister. His bride. He longs for his people as a man longs for that “one particular woman”. So the next time you fall in love, remember that those powerful, overwhelming feelings are only a dim reflection of the longing Jesus Christ feels for those the Father has given him
John 10:28-29 “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, 29 for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else.[a] No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.”.
The implications are mind-blowing.
Not only is God the most beautiful, most desirable being in existence,
He saved our lives, rescued us from a terrible eternal death by spilling His own blood.
He loves us unconditionally.
He is a perfect hero, a perfect friend.
He is the creator of music, beauty, laughter. He invented pleasure itself.
And we will be invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb – not as his guests, but as his bride. If that doesn’t make you excited to go to heaven, nothing will.