I pondered the deepness of the love that I share with my wife. When I use that word “love”, it doesn’t seem to fully define the depths of what I feel in my heart. When I officiate a wedding, I pray that the couple that is joining together as one will come to this same place in their lives, this same place that I share with my wife, a depth of feeling that reaches down into my soul.
How do we get there? What about when the “puppy love” wears off?
I have to say that as I look back at my life with my wife, that it is a love that has GROWN to what it is today. I often ponder how much deeper our love could ever even get. I ponder this same thing with my love for God, my love for Jesus.
As both my wife and I seek God in our lives, as we both seek the love of Jesus Christ, and as we both see the depths of the love that Jesus shares with us and the world, our love also grows stronger and becomes deeper. A trust grows as we seek God together each day.
If we were to look at love as a flame that must always be fed in order to grow and stay lit, we can start to see God’s plan and His wisdom unfold.
CONSIDER THE FLAME in the Hebrew word “ahabah” [a•hab•aw] that is translated as “love” in the Old Testament. This is a love of deep affection, a self sacrificing and unselfish love. I believe that this is a love that evolves over time and comes from the depths of our heart.
Song of Songs 3:4(ESV)
Scarcely had I passed them when I found him whom my soul loves [ahabah]. I held him, and would not let him go until I had brought him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her who conceived me.
Ecclesiastes 9:9 (ESV)
Enjoy life with the wife whom you love [ahabah], all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun.
Interestingly enough, in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Greek word that is translated as this same “ahabah” love is “agape” [ag-ah-pay]. “Agape” love is described as a “feast of charity”, a “love feast”, deep affection, to love in a moral sense.
We see this love spelled out in the New Testament as the same love that God wants FROM us as well as the love between a husband and a wife. This is a deep and abiding love.
Matthew 22:37 (ESV)
And he said to him, “You shall love [agape] the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
1 Corinthians 15:4 (ESV)
Love [agape] is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant.
CONSIDER THE FLAME in the Hebrew word “rayah” [rah-yaw] that is also translated as “love” in the Old Testament. This is the type of love you find in a companion or close friend, sharing interest and sharing life together. The Greek word that is similar is “phileo” [fil-eh-o]. This is a love of fondness and a matter of principal and duty. “Phileo” is also a word that describes, as well as and like “agape”, God’s love for us (as in James 2:23).
Song of Songs 2:10(ESV)
My beloved speaks and says to me: “Arise, my love [rayah], my beautiful one, and come away,
Song of Songs 4:7(ESV)
You are altogether beautiful, my love [rayah]; there is no flaw in you.
James 2:23 (ESV)
and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend [philos] of God.
Titus 3:15 (ESV)
All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love [phileo] us in the faith. Grace be with you all.
Then CONSIDER ALSO THE FLAME in the Hebrew word “dod” [dode] which comes from an unused root meaning “to boil”. “Dod” [dode] is used to describe an intimately physical love. The Greek word that also describes this intimate, physical love is “eros”, where we appropriately get the English word, “erotic”.
Song of Songs 1:2(ESV)
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love [dode] is better than wine;
Song of Songs 7:12(ESV)
let us go out early to the vineyards and see whether the vines have budded, whether the grape blossoms have opened and the pomegranates are in bloom. There I will give you my love [dode].
Consider these FLAMES OF LOVE in your relationship with your spouse. Consider that it is important that these three flames, the FLAME of self-sacrificing and deeply abiding love, the FLAME of a shared friendship and shared life together, and the FLAME of a deeply intimate and physical love…..all BALANCED and fed together in unison to create a committed, strong, and enduring FIRE that simply won’t go out.
Consider also that God intended a balance in these FLAMES. Alone, they are simply not full or complete…..but combined…they create a lifelong and enduring FIRE.
Seek the heat!
May you share the flame of “ahaba and agape”, the flame of “rayah and phileo” and the flame of “dod and eros” with the one YOU love and have committed to share your life with, ordained by God and brought to completeness by His love that is shared with you, His creation.