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Real Love in Real Life - Four Kinds of Love, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
February 9, 2022 5:00 am

Real Love in Real Life - Four Kinds of Love, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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February 9, 2022 5:00 am

What does love mean? Have you ever had times in your life when you just thought, “You know what? I have no idea what love means!” As Chip opens this series, he explains that we CAN know what love really means and how to genuinely give it and get it in return.

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Someone has wisely said, if you can't define it, you can't experience it. And let me ask you this, what's real love? I mean, what would it look like in your life, in your relationships?

I mean, with neighbors, friends, moms, dads, mates, boyfriends, girlfriends. We're going to talk about how to experience real love in real life. Stay with me. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. The mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians through the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram.

I'm Dave Druey. Thanks for joining us as we begin Chip's series called Real Love in Real Life. Now in this first message, he'll identify the four unique kinds of love, share their differences, and explain why we need to know them. Now before we get started, if you're new to Living on the Edge or just want to learn more about us, go to There you'll find hundreds of resources on a wide range of topics and countless programs for you to enjoy.

Or if you prefer, the Chip Ingram app is also a great way to get plugged in with our ministry. And with that, let's join Chip as he kicks off this series with his message, Four Kinds of Love. To start, I'm going to ask you to do something to literally go back in time in your mind, and I'd like you to resurrect the earliest moment that you can think of where you actually felt real love. Earliest childhood memory where you felt, I belong, I'm safe, I'm loved, I'm valuable. What was that moment? I'm sure there's a lot of them, but the way God makes our brains is that certain things that are emotionally charged stick with us.

I mean, we have lots of experiences, but if they're emotionally charged and resonate somehow with our heart, we can almost go back in time and you can replay that picture. For me, I was in about, I think, first or second grade, I'm not sure, and all I can tell you was they had a music class, and they had all these little dots, and I couldn't figure out the dots, and they were notes, and you had a flutaphone. You had to play the flutaphone, and the following day, after weeks how everyone should supposed to be able to play Mary Had a Little Lamb on the flutaphone, I was paralyzed with fear. And I remember going to bed, my mom came in to tuck me in, and I just started crying, I can't play the flutaphone, and I don't know what those dots mean. I mean, I'm super, super uptight, and I don't know why this impression, I remember my mom going, you don't have to play the flutaphone.

You know, it's okay, we're gonna make it through this. And why that sticks in my mind, I think about feeling protected, loved, I didn't have to perform, she was there for me. My second snapshot was a number of years later, my dad was a great athlete, he was drafted by the St. Louis Browns baseball, but it was a time in baseball history where he could make more money working on the railroad in the summers as a school teacher than he could playing professional baseball. But early on, I mean, he wanted me to get good at baseball, so he'd hit me grounders and grounders and grounders, and it was very intense and good about how you caught a grounder. And he forced me to do some things that I didn't think I could do. And, you know, crazy little kid, I just got up one day and I started, instead of right-handed, I started throwing a tennis ball against the garage, of course, and then finally I put a little box and I did it left-handed, and then I put my glove on the wrong hand, and I started throwing it with my dad.

And, anyway, I kind of got this idea that in Little League I wanted to play shortstop right-handed to be a pitcher left-handed. And I'll never forget the day, he was in grad school summer, my parents were always going back to school, school teachers, and in the middle of the week he was supposed to be away at grad school, he drove two hours, he gets out of the car, Chipper, come here, and he flips this glove to me. And it was a brand new left-handed glove, and I stuck it on, he threw me a ball, I said, come on, let's go in the backyard.

And I just, I don't, why, I mean, I could tell you the color of his shirt, but there was something about I believe in you, I'll work with you, I'm gonna help you become what you long to become. My third little picture of just feeling real love was a guy named Kevin King, bright red hair, freckles, it was a rainy day, there were worms, I had a brand new cowboy hat, and he put a worm inside my cowboy hat. And we had just moved into the neighborhood, and I was a very short, very small, very skinny little kid, and he outweighed me by 40 pounds, and we got in a fight, and I still have the picture of all the neighborhood kids in a circle as we were fighting, and it ended with him sitting on my chest, and I couldn't move. And Kevin and I became best friends. And I remember, you know, and years later, I remember, you know, when I got kicked out of the in crowd, and it didn't matter what happened, Kevin was always my friend. I remember when his parents back then, it was so unusual, were going through a divorce, and Kevin was my friend.

We could share anything, he was always there for me. And then my next moment was, I was about 12 or maybe 13 years old, and it was the era where kids grew up a little bit slower, and so, you know, in the early years, you hated girls, and then something happened, and you weren't sure. But at about 12 or 13, I was convinced that Michelle Abraham could perhaps be the most beautiful woman or being on the face of the earth, and I had these feelings inside. And the Beatles were singing, Michelle, Michelle, my Belle, Son l'émonquée contre bien en son, you know?

And I'm walking around the neighborhood, you know? And isn't it amazing, those were very real moments. Here's what I want you to get. There's three observations I have about real love. Number one is this, is that we all are hardwired to need to be loved just for who we really are.

You're hardwired just to be loved for who you are, not what you do, not how you look. Second is that no amount of success, fame, education, or power can fill the human heart's need for real love. We think, we hope, but no amount of education, no amount of fame, no amount of wealth, no amount of power can ever fill your heart for your real need to be really loved just for who you are plus nothing. And third observation is real love seems really hard to find, really hard to find.

I mean, whether it's a separation or a divorce or a breakup of a friendship or just unity in a small group, whether it's betrayal by a friend, whether it's someone you're dating and the heartbreak you go through. I mean, real love, someone who loves you just for who you are at whatever stage of life, single, married, divorced, widowed, it's really hard to find. And it raises two or three really big questions. Number one, what is real love? Number two, where does it come from?

And number three, how do you find it in real life? And the problem by asking the question, what's real love is this, we have one word in English for love and it just can't carry the weight of all the different kinds of love. I mean, we say, I love you to a real person that I would be willing to die for you and I love pizza.

Somewhere there's a disconnect there. And so at the time that the New Testament was written, there were four major words in the Greek language for love. And so what I want to do to give us a sense of what real love is, is give you a broader, fuller picture of the meaning of real love and these four major words. Two of them are found in the New Testament. One of them actually a derivative is of it found in the New Testament, but all four are pictured in the New World Testament. And so let me just walk through and let me give you a definition first of four specific kinds of love.

C.S. Lewis wrote a book on these four words of when I get done, you think, you know, I'd like to learn more about that. The first kind of love is eros or sexual love. It's a passionate desire.

I didn't know it, but it's what I was feeling for Michelle Abraham. And if you'll notice, there's a positive example here in scripture. Open your Bible, if you will, to Proverbs chapter five.

I think at times Christianity has got a bad rap and we probably owe it to ourselves. But the Bible's very explicit that in the right context with the one that you're married, God not only created sex, he thinks it's really important and encourages us to have really deep, wonderful, satisfying sex lives with one another. This father speaking to his son says, think as you listen to this, this is a sexual context. Should your springs be scattered, verse 16, abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be for yourself alone and not for strangers. Let your fountain be blessed and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breast satisfy you at all times.

Be intoxicated always with her love. It's in the Bible, a little PG-13, but it's in the Bible. Now, notice on the right side, because I'm going to make a contrast to our time, real love versus pseudo love. When the Bible talks about real love and it talks about eros love, it says I love to please you sexually to celebrate the intimacy that we already have. This isn't you'll make me complete, this isn't all there is to love. We live in a culture where eros love is overshadowing everything, so much so that the word sex and love are interchanged.

But the Bible says that sex is an important part, this passionate desire is God given, but the goal of that in the marriage relationship is not what I can get, it's what can I give. And it's a reflection of what we'll see as these three other kinds of love. The second kind of love is phileo love, this is friendship love. This is a strong feeling, this is a strong emotional feeling toward another person that says I want to be there for you. In the Old Testament, it's a picture of Jonathan and David. It's a best friends kind of love, it's a caring kind of love, it's a sharing kind of love.

It's that I'll be there for you, I got your back, no matter what thick and thin. If you know the Old Testament story, you know that Jonathan was the son of the king, but God ordained David to be the next king. And Jonathan out of loyalty would pass up not only power and privilege and possessions and even his father's affirmation to be loyal to his friend.

Everybody in the world is desperate, I mean for phileo love. The kind of love that someone says through thick, through thin, I'm here for you. The opposite of that of course is Judas.

There was manipulation, there was other motives, he betrayed Jesus. So in the New Testament time there was eros love, sexual love, there's phileo love, the love of friends, and then there's storge love or family love. This is a fond affection. We had a staff member that had her first baby and the picture came and those of you that are parents or maybe you're an aunt or an uncle, but when you hold a baby in your arms, you don't go like, well, so how much money did you make last week?

Or I don't think you look good in that outfit. The family love is you belong and you are valued because you're part of us. We love you. It gets harder as they get older, but we just love you, right? And no matter what, I mean I'll tell you that all kind of family situations, we're blood. We forgive.

Oh my gosh, this is the second time in a recovery program, but he's my brother. She's my mom. There's this affection, there's this commitment, there's this caring for one another is just inbuilt in us in the family. In fact, open your Bibles. 1 Thessalonians 2 and the apostle Paul is talking about his relationship with the Christians in Thessalonica. They had a very deep and warm relationship. It's interesting, listen to the kind of family type love that's common in the body of Christ.

Follow along as I read. Indeed, he's speaking to the church there. Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel, but our lives as well. Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toll, our hardship. We work night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preach the gospel of God to you. You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy and righteous and blameless we were among you who believe. For you know that we dealt with each one of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting, and urging you to live lives worthy of God who calls you into his kingdom of glory. Did you get the family words? Brothers, sisters, we were like a nursing mother. We cared, sacrificial, hard work, moms get up in the middle of the night, dads work and toil. It's this picture of family love that we belong to one another, and so we make sacrifices for one another.

The apostle Paul says that is absolutely true in the family, but it's also true of the family of God. And so love number one is eros, love number two is phileo, love number three is storge, and love number four is agape love. This is God's love. One is a passionate desire, the second is a strong feeling, the third is a fond, built-in affection.

This is a willful choice. Agape love is unconditional, other-centered, sacrificial. An absolute commitment, it comes out of the very character and the nature and the heart of God. You're the object of his love, even before you knew him. He created you, he loves you. Love always has the best interest of the other party.

He wants to connect with you, he's for you. There's nothing you can do to ever get God to love you more. And actually there's nothing you can do to get him to love you less. He's demonstrated his love toward us in the most profound way by what Christ did on the cross. Now, because love requires a willful choice on two parties, he loves you, he loves me, he so loved all the world that he gave his son, but you don't have to accept this love. You can say to him, I don't want you to love me. Now, he will still love you, but you don't get the consequences of experiencing his love if you choose to reject his love.

You say, well, why is this so important? If you do not have God's love living in you, you will not have the power to love yourself, to love your family, to love your friends. And one day, unless God calls you to singleness, to love your mate.

In fact, here's what I want you to get. God is the source of love. The scripture says God is love. God is love, but his love isn't just a feeling or an emotion or a desire. His love is an unconditional commitment. In fact, on the bottom of your notes, here's how God loves you. Love is choosing to give another person what they need the most when they deserve it the least at great personal cost. When you think about the cross, God gave us what we needed the most when we deserved it the least at great personal cost.

And so why is this so important? Listen very carefully. This is the pivotal moment in this message if you're either going to understand real love or it's going to go right over your head. If you don't have the source of God's love living within you and you become a secure whole person deeply loved, then all of your life and all of your relationships will be all about get, get, get, get, me, me, me, me. Trying to get someone to love you physically, someone to love you as a friend, someone to love you as a family, and you'll come up with all kind of really wacko ways to try and do it that don't work.

But if you can understand the love of God and experience the love of God, then you have his power to begin to give even if people don't respond. In fact, let me read a quote by a couple that teaches at Seattle Pacific University. They have a class called relationships that every freshman takes. It's voluntary but it's the most sought after class and Les and Leslie Parrott say this. This is one sentence that every student has to memorize.

It's the only thing they have to do in the class. If you attempt to build intimacy with another person before you've done the hard work of becoming a whole and healthy person, every relationship will be an attempt to complete the wholeness that you lack and end in disaster. If you attempt to build intimacy with a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a child, a parent, a friend, and don't first have a healthy whole, I'm loved, I'm secure, I don't need to impress, I don't need to manipulate, I don't need to get, I don't have to have someone or something to make me complete. All those songs we sing, I can't live without you, and if loving you is wrong, I don't want to be right, or every popular song about I will die without your love is a lie. If you can't live with God and his love first, you have nothing to give.

You're just a getter, getter, getter, needy, needy, needy. But if you experience the supernatural agape power of God love within you, then you have a reservoir to love people in ways that are supernatural, and it produces amazing, deep, real love. Before we go on, I'd like to remind you that love is a big word, and there's four different kinds of love, and this agape love, it's the core, it's the source.

You know, you can't give away what you don't have, and for many of us, failed relationships, conflicts with brothers and sisters, fallouts with a boss, and the most painful of a marriage that didn't work, at the heart of so much of it is we don't have the capacity to love and forgive in ways that are unconditional. As I close today's program, I talk to you about someone who will love you, in fact, who does love you when you're good. He loves you when you're not so good.

He cares about you. He made you. He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus, to make a way to build a bridge between you and Him. And you know, if you really want to experience real love, it has to begin with you and your relationship with your Creator. God the Father sent God the Son, Jesus, to live a perfect life, to walk upon the earth, to actually model what real love looks like. And then He died upon the cross, and He paid for your sin and my sin, and the sins of all the people in the world.

He made a relationship with your Heavenly Father, your Creator, possible. Now, because love requires choice and volition, He doesn't make you love Him. You don't have to receive this gift.

You can push it away, you can procrastinate, you can keep seeking to do things your own way, but I will tell you, you will see one relationship after another fail. So, I believe that we're having this conversation by a divine appointment, and that right now, the living God is speaking to you and saying, Would you come home? I love you. Will you receive it?

I sent my Son. He died in your place, but you, by faith, must receive this gift. And so right now, as God is speaking to you, would you be willing to humble yourself? And even if you're driving in the car, you can pray in your mind. God is everywhere.

He knows everything. But would you be willing to say, Dear Lord Jesus, I need you. I do fall short. I know I'm not perfect.

I've missed the mark. I've sinned. And so right now, I ask you to forgive me of my sin, to come into my life.

I believe. I trust that you died in my place, that you rose from the dead, and that you want to have a relationship with me. And so I ask you, take me into your family right now. I want to be your son.

I want to be your daughter. And as you pray that in your heart with full intent, I want you to know that the God of the universe has forgiven you. He's taken what Jesus did and applied it to you. And now he wants you literally like a brand new creation, like a brand new baby.

He wants you to grow. And so we're going to help you take the next steps in your relationship with Christ. This weekend, find a good Bible teaching church. Get a Bible that you can understand. And you won't get it all, but just say, Lord, I want to get to know you.

You've begun an exciting new adventure. If you prayed with Chip, we'd love to put a free resource in your hands. It's called Starting Out Right, and it's absolutely free. This resource will help you gain a clear biblical understanding of what it means to put your faith in Jesus. And that's our whole mission here at Living on the Edge, helping Christians really live like Christians. So let us help you get started in your faith journey. You can request this resource by calling us at 888-333-6003 or visiting, then clicking on the New Believers button.

That's, or call 888-333-6003. Well, here again is Chip with a quick word. I want to take just a few minutes to talk about something really important. And I hope especially for those of you that are regular listeners, you'll agree. God has been using the ministry of Living on the Edge in incredible ways. We've been growing and reaching folks like never before, and you're an important part of that. Your gifts to Living on the Edge make it possible for us to be present in places that without you, we simply couldn't be.

Many of these places are extremely dangerous to proclaim the name of Christ. And your gifts make it possible for us to reach people in desperate situations, you know, right here in the United States. I can't tell you how many emails and letters I receive that somewhere in that letter or email, it's like, I was on my way to the abortion clinic, or I was planning to end my life, or I was about to give up on my marriage, or I was giving up on God because of something terrible that happened to me, but then I started listening to you on my drive to work, or my neighbor gave me this book, or I found your app, and you know, this series on overcoming emotions or whatever.

It was God's catalyst to begin a total transformation in my life. These things aren't happening because of Chip Ingram or even Living on the Edge. They're happening because God is working in and through those who by faith respond and obey Him. You know, we can't do anything alone.

That's because it's not God's plan for any of us. We are in this together, and Living on the Edge as God's ministry is about you and me doing exactly what God calls us to do. And so I would ask you, first, would you really pray for the ministry? And second, would you pray specifically about partnering at a deeper level and partnering with us financially? Do whatever God leads you to do, and let me say in advance, let's keep pressing ahead, and thank you very much.

Thanks, Chip. If joining the Living on the Edge team is an idea that makes sense to you, we'd love to have you. Your support multiplies our efforts and resources in ways that only God can do.

So if you'd like to be a part of that, let me encourage you to become a monthly partner. Just go to and tap the donate button. With a few clicks, you can set up a recurring donation and help others benefit from this ministry. Or if it's easier, just give us a call at 888-333-6003. That's 888-333-6003 to learn how you can become a monthly partner with Living on the Edge. App listeners, tap donate.

Well, just before we close, our mission at Living on the Edge is to help Christians live like Christians. And one of the ways we do that is by giving away free resources. So when you hear a message that's especially helpful, we hope you'll pass it on to others. They're easily shared from the Chip Ingram app or by forwarding the free MP3s from our website, And don't forget to include a note about how it made a difference in your life. Well, be sure to be with us again next time when we continue our series, Real Love in Real Life. For Chip and the entire team here, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-07 15:44:40 / 2023-06-07 15:55:18 / 11

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