by Debonnie Barnes

We don’t love the process of change, we just love the change. However, God is a God of process. There is a process that develops a love that lasts beyond the weekend.
— Jesse Norman

Love is a topic that will never grow old. We all need to be reminded of what love is. Whether we are single or married, in a romantic relationship or a platonic one, we should never stop learning how to love each other.

In English we only have one word for love. You can love kombucha and you can love your spouse, but those are obviously very different kinds of love. In the Greek there are actually 4 words for love and they all build on each other.

Storge - Family Love

Philia - Friendship Love

Agape - Godly Love

Eros - Sexual Love

Storge is a family love. It leads to love that always protects and never dishonors. We should have this type of family love in the house of God.

1 Timothy 5:1-2 “Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.”

Philia is a friendship love. A love that is based on the enjoyment of others. In all actuality, we practice love through friendships. If the person you are interested in can’t maintain healthy friendships, what makes you think they can develop a healthy relationship with you? Dating doesn’t change anyone. It only amplifies what they already are.

Agape is a godly love. A love that is based on a choice. It is a choice that you have to make everyday, even when you don’t feel like it. When it comes to romantic relationships, do your homework! You need to know exactly who you are choosing to love. Take your time getting to know each other, so when you make that lifelong commitment, you both know what you are getting into and that you are willing to choose them everyday through the good and the bad. 

There’s nothing like knowing that someone knows all of the worst parts of you, and still chooses you forever anyways. That’s how God loves us. He knew how broken we were, how sinful we were. He knew all of our mistakes, and still chose to love us and die for our salvation. There is no greater love. Relationships were always supposed to be a reflection of Gods love.

Romans 5:8 - “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Eros is a sexual love. It can be the greatest blessing or the greatest curse to our soul. Eros is a good thing. It is not something to be ashamed of. God created it, but it is meant to be the glue that holds you and your spouse together. It is the binding of souls. You don’t want to bind yourself to just anyone. You should be bound to only your spouse, who has already chosen to love, honor, and respect you.

God needs to be the cornerstone of your relationship. A three stranded chord will not be easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12). That is what makes a relationship last forever. 

I encourage you to build your relationships through the four types of love. Your base is family love. They are God’s son or daughter and deserve to be treated with respect and honor. Get to know one another as friends, then once who know who they are, make a choice to love that person through thick and thin. After that, get married and... I’m sure you can figure out the rest.

God has a plan for all relationships, but it involves a process. All good things do. Though we would love to just see the end result, skipping this process will always lead to future pain. Trust the process. 

To my single friends, take this to heart. God is more concerned about you becoming the right person, than you finding the right person. As Pastor Jesse always says, just run your race, then look to your left or right and see who’s keeping up, then maybe hold hands or something. God will provide, so don’t let “the hunt” be your main concern or worry. You don’t have to wait to live your life until you have someone to live it with.

In 1 Corinthians 7, singleness is actually encouraged because they can just concentrate on serving the Lord. Guys, relationships take a lot of time and effort. Use this season of singleness to tune in to the purpose that God has specifically for your life!

To my friends that are married or in a relationship, it is easy to become set in your ways, but I encourage you, if you’ve never gone through the four types of love, do it! Exploring a friendship with your significant other may be the best thing you can do for your relationship. 

Every now and then we need to go back to basics. I find myself having to do that with God every now and then. It’s refreshing and beautiful. It sustains our relationship. If that’s how it is with God, it must be the same for our human relationships. One reflects the other.

Here’s to healthier and happier relationships!

Missed Sunday’s message? Check it out below!