“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
— Matthew 22:37
We know that love is important. Not only is it necessary as a part of being a human, but it is essential to life as a Christian. But do we truly understand what love is, how we can show it, and what it means to love others?
There are three primary types of love that are often referred to: eros, philos, and agape. Even without knowing a definition of each, it is easy to assume most of us have experienced all three types at one point or another. But understanding them, particularly in the context of the Greatest Commandment mentioned in the verse above, will deepen your joy in giving and receiving love.
Loving with your heart is an Eros love. This is easily likened to those first moments of falling in love. You see the person, can imagine a connection, and seek them to find it. Eros love is often felt through touch and it is usually caused by an intense physical reaction. Loving with an Eros love often includes receiving love from another person.
Loving with your mind can be described as the Philos love. This is a companionable love, a love based on cooperation and support. It is still about relationships, but its foundation is one of friendship. A Philos love can be just as powerful and just as unforgettable as an Eros love. However, Philos is about receiving as well as giving.
But, it is that soul love, that Agape love, that brings us closest to understanding God’s love for us. Agape love is purely about giving love to others. Agape describes loving for the sake of loving. It is that soul deep need we have to connect to someone simply because. There is no rhyme or reason to God’s love for us; it simply exists because He wants it to. Agape love is the ultimate gift.
There is nothing wrong with having all three types of love as a part of our lives. We just have to ensure there is a balance between them.