The Bible speaks of several forms of love:
- eros – romantic attraction
- philia – brotherly love, fellowship
- agape – selfless, spiritual, unconditional
Eros involves a feeling of desire and longing that can wax and wane with changes in circumstances, perceptions and expectations. Phileo friendship also may change with the times, but agape love is endless and without bounds. Jesus personified agape love — the most noble, sacrificial love. He commands us to love others as he has loved us. Agape love is not merely a feeling, but an act of will.
We know how many seeds are in an apple, but only God knows how many apples are in a seed. We plant seeds of truth by spreading the gospel, as described in the parable of the sower in Matthew 13. Some seeds fall along the path and are snatched away. Some fall in rocky places where they are received with joy but have no root and soon wither. Some seeds fall among thorns where worries of this life choke them out. And some seeds fall on good soil where people hear the Word, understand it, retain it, and produce a crop. What places in your life are like valleys, mountains, or rough places that challenge your faith? Mountains are difficult challenges requiring endurance and perseverance. Valleys may be depressing events that lead to emotional fatigue, mental distress and physical exhaustion. In crooked places you don’t know which way to turn, you can’t see the path or discern the way. In rough places, like with illness and betrayal, the going gets tough; you can clearly see the way, but it is still very difficult to cope and keep going. When you hear the Word and understand it, you produce a crop yielding many times what was sown. Our job is to plant the seeds of truth. How many apples may be in the seeds you are planting and in the seeds from those apples in the future? Keep planting. Only God knows what the harvest will bring.
Joy to the world the Lord is come; let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room, and heav’n and nature sing, and heav’n and nature sing, and heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing.
He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove the glories of His righteousness, and wonders of His love, and wonders of His love, and wonders, wonders of His love.
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth” (Psalms 98:4 NIV)
“In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” (John 1:4-5 NIV)
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2 NIV)
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (Luke 2:15-20)
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:8-14 NIV)
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 2:17 NIV)
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2 NIV)