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Hooked On Love


"Hooked On Love" was recorded by Grand Funk Railroad on their 1970 album entitled "Closer To Home".  Being hooked on love is what most pop songs are all about.  I suggest that pop love is all about being "Hooked On A Feeling", not love, as was the title of B. J. Thomas's 1968 hit song.  Being "Hooked On Hormones" might actually be a better way to put it.      


There are two Greek words that are translated as "love" in our English New Testament; the verb "phileo", (as a noun "philos") and the verb "agapao" (as a noun "agape").  Although it's a bit simplistic, we say that "agape" is God's love while "philos" is brotherly love.  


The word "agape" was pretty much out of use in the first century Roman Empire .  In general terms "agape" meant selfless, or sacrificial love.  Because of its lack of use, first generation Christians adopted it to represent God's selfless love.  "Philos" was the word most commonly used for "love" back then.  It meant "tender affection".  It was a "mutual exchange" of love between people, thus its association with "brotherly love".  As in any hedonistic society, as Rome was, "philos" is always more popular than "agape".


You might think that "agape" is only associated with God in the New Testament and "philos" with  men and women.  That's not the case.  Both words are used in reference to God.  God demonstrates "agape" and He demonstrates "philos".  Therefore, we can't technically say that "agape" is strictly God's love and "philos" is strictly "human brotherly love".  We should also note that the word "agape" appears many more times in the New Testament than the word "philos".     


Despite what many think, the Greek word "eros" isn't found in the New Testament.  It means eroticism or sexual desire, and finds its roots in the Greek mythological god of love and sex.  Of course sexual desire didn't originate with some Greek god.  Men and women were created by the God of the Bible with sexual desire.  There is nothing wrong with "eros", but we cannot confuse it with "agape" as pop culture does.      


In New Testament terms, "agape" is selfless, sacrificial, and is demonstrated in acts that don't demand, hint, or hope, for anything in return.  Jesus points this out when He says that there is no greater love than when we lay down our lives for a friend. (John 15:13)  The apostle John says we are "not to love in words alone, but in actions based on truth". (1 John 3:18) 


As with anything in life, we tend to lose interest, enthusiasm, devotion, and even love, over time.  Many marriages prove that to be true as couples drift apart.  The same is true in the church and in our lives as Christians.  Our tendency to drift from our original enthusiasm is sometimes seen as a move towards a mature love.  That might be true in some cases, but I suggest in many cases it's a drifting towards selfishness.  If our love is more mature now than it once was, we'll be more selfless than we once were.       


Here's my commentary on Revelation 2:4 and 5.  It addresses the issue of "lost or forsaken love".  It reads, "I hold this against you.  You have forsaken your first love.  Remember the height from which you have fallen!  Repent and do the things you did at first.  If you do not repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place". 


Jesus is very upset with the Ephesian Christians because they had forsaken the love they once had for Him.  He now holds this sin against them.  


"Remember the heights from which you have fallen".  Pop culture says we "fall in love".  This passage relates the word "fall" with "falling out of love", not "falling in love".  Love is a choice, not something we stumble into.    


In response to forsaken or lost love, Jesus tells us to repent of this sin.  Then He tells us to "do the things we did at first".  Doing the things we did at first implies we don't do those things now.  By doing the things we did when we first met Jesus and were enthused by Him, we recreate the atmosphere that once surrounded us, which in turn might well spur us on to "agape".


In 1964, the Righteous Brothers recorded, "You've Lost That Loving Feeling".  Somebody should write a song entitled, "I've Found That Loving Feeling".  Although love is not a feeling, if we want to re-ignite forsaken or lost love, or the feelings associated with love, we must repent and do the things we once did when we were enthused by love.  


This also applies to married couples who have drifted apart.  Do the things you did when you were first enthused with each other.  By so doing you recreate the atmosphere that surrounded both of you in times past.  In this atmosphere, love can re-ignite, and just maybe, the feelings associated with love might return.  If the feelings don't return, the mandate remains.  "Do the things you did at first".   


Finally, if we don't repent and do the things we did at first, Jesus says we'll "lose our lampstand".  That's what eventually happened to the church at Ephesus .  The Holy Spirit left the church.  The same is true today.  Church becomes an empty shell of an organization without the Holy Spirit.  It's no different than the civic organization down the street.  Church life becomes routine and traditional.  The heart felt enthusiasm is extinguished from church, from individual lives, and from marriages.  Jesus is calling us to a place where we are "Hooked On Agape". 



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