How Do You Score On the Love Test?

How Do You Score On the Love Test?

Much of the New Testament was written in Greek. In the Greek language, there are four words for love:

  1. Storgos – affection or family love
  2. Eros – sensual love, love that stirs your senses
  3. Phileō – returned love or reciprocal love, love because of what you get out of it
  4. Agapē – selfless and sacrificial love, as in that given by God

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. – 1 John 4:7-8 (NKJV)

In the verse above, the word agapē is the root of all the “loves” mentioned in those verses. So you could restate that verse this way, “Beloved, let us sacrificially love one another, for sacrificial love is of God; and everyone who gives sacrificial love is born of God and knows God. He who does not sacrificially love does not know God, for God is sacrificial love.”

Sacrificial love is hard for me, mostly because of the whole “sacrifice” part of the equation. It’s a lot more comfortable when I don’t have to sacrifice anything. I have to remind myself daily (and should probably change it to hourly) that life is not all about me and my wants, but God and His will.

So here’s the “Love Test” I mentioned in the title. In the scripture below, you can see how well it works when you substitute the name “Jesus” for the word “love” in this passage. That’s the easy part. Now for the test: how well does it work when you put your own name into that spot?

Love suffers long and is kind;
love does not envy;
love does not parade itself,
is not puffed up;
does not behave rudely,
does not seek its own,
is not provoked,
thinks no evil;
does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love never fails.
– 1 Cor 13:4 – 8 (NKJV)

Obviously it is going to take a lot of help from the Holy Spirit for us humans to get a passing grade here. Let us not feel condemned by this little test. Instead, may this be an awakening to us for the wonderful way Jesus wants to work in our lives.