Last time, we concluded that Valentine day is a pagan celebration that has been hijacked by retailers to sell their goods. As Valentine is celebrated this year and in subsequent years, our heart’s cry should be Oh to know the love of Christ which surpasses comprehension, (Ephesians 3:19, New King James Version).
What Is Love? According to Romans 13:10, love is the fulfillment of the law. Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. The Greek language recognizes five kinds of love:
Desire – Attraction (epithumia);
Longing – Romance (eros);
Belonging – Affection (storge);
Cherishing – Friendship (phile);
Selfless Giving – Christian Love (agape)
On their own part, psychologists describe nine kinds of love: Affection, Sexual Love, Platonic Love, Romantic Love, Puppy Love, Friendship, Committed Love, Infatuation and Passionate Love
In Simple Classification: there are three classes of love: the ‘If’ Love, the ‘Because’ Love and the ‘In Spite Of’ Love.
The "If’ kind of love says, "I will love you if you do things my way, if you give me gifts, if you become a good provider, if you get a good report card at school." It is a conditional love based upon future expectations. If these conditions are not met, then like a legal contract, love is broken. This is a selfish love because it is solely based upon expectations. It is love that must be earned. Most marriages fail because they are based upon this type of love.
Children are often heard saying, "I will be your friend" – if you let me play with your new toy; until then, I hate you. It is a fickle, unstable love. It is also described as co-dependency. This is the childish love we are all born with. Unfortunately, most of us remain childish when it comes to love – we never grow up. I will give you a ring if you will be my valentine.
The "because of" kind of love says, "I will love you because you are now young and beautiful, because I now desire you, because you are now popular, because you are now in good health or wealthy, because you make me feel good." This kind of love is common among teenagers because it is solely based upon the other’s current status. It is also doomed to failure in marriage. When someone proclaims, "I have fallen out of love" they have fallen out of the "because of" kind of love, not true love.
This kind of love is not in tune with reality when it demands that things stay the same in an ever-changing world. Like the ‘If’ kind of love, it is unstable and fickle. It is full of doubts and fears for what tomorrow might bring. Both are versions of conditional love – one on future - the other on present status
So in effect, there are only two types – the human conditional love and the God’s unconditional love.
Unconditional Love is the "in spite of" love. It says, "I love you in spite of your faults, in spite of your being fat and ugly, or poor and old; in spite of the times you are selfish and inconsiderate, in spite of when you sin against me,"
This is true love; it is the love with which God God loves us.
It is a love we don't naturally possess but must learn through the power of the Holy Spirit.
This is an enduring love that doesn't even keep a score card.
It will always be there tomorrow regardless of what we have done today.
This is the kind of love that 50th wedding anniversaries are made of. Romans 5:6-8 says, For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the very good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Notice the contrast between conditional and unconditional love in this verse. Christ didn't die for us because we were very good and worth dying for. Rather He died for us “in spite of” the fact we were worthless sinners.
What makes the difference? Human love has to be conditional because we all have needs that must be met. On the other hand, God’s love can be unconditional because He does not have any need. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things (Acts 17:25).
In the bible, love is an act of the will, not an emotion. By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us (1 John 3:16 ).Jesus did something. God did something with His love.