Tracy Levinson has written a best selling book for young adults and their parents called "Unashamed -- Candid Conversations About Dating, Love, Nakedness, and Faith." She answers real questions from single millennials. In an excerpt she answers the question "How do I know if I’m in love?"
Tracy's answer was informed by scripture. In the Bible the word "love" has more than one meaning, but it shows up in the English language simply as “love.” However, if you look at the original Greek language of the New Testament, it actually uses more specific words to describe unique kinds of love.
Phileo is the love one feels for their best friend. This is when you just can’t help but be fond of someone with natural affection. Romans 12:10 uses this word: “Love one another with brotherly affection -- as members of one family -- giving precedence and showing honor to one another."
Agape is unconditional love. We can feel agape because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). It is found in the New Testament more than any other of the words translated as "love." Agape describes motivation to love out of honor rather than by feelings or attraction. It is often undeserved. Consider the ability to demonstrate lavish goodness toward another person based on what is in their best interest.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 teaches us what agape is. From "The Message" translation: “Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always 'me first,' doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end.”
Eros is the physical, sensual, sexual love between a husband and wife. Check out Song of Solomon in the Bible. While the Old Testament doesn’t use the word eros, the story in the Song of Solomon is a great example of it. When led by the Spirit, the apostle Paul suggests that people marry to fulfill this kind of love (1 Corinthians 7:36).
Regarding love and lust, what’s the difference? Agape love is the highest form of love. This is Tracy's favorite part of the definition: to “demonstrate lavish goodness toward another person based on what is in their best interest.” Eros, the sensual love, is a valuable expression of love within the context of marriage. Girls and guys often mistake sensual love for agape love. Eros love can trick them into thinking they are in a selfless, love relationship.
They may experience physical, sensual, sexual feelings. None of that is “bad,” but who wants eros without agape love? Outside of marriage, eros can turn in to lust. It is important for you in dating to be able to differentiate between agape love and eros love.
Tracy said, "Eros alone isn’t good enough for one of my young friends anymore. She emailed me and said; 'Love, as I experienced, was the best feeling for me. I felt invincible. Looking back I would not really say that was love. Love now means to me being able to deny yourself, and most of all delay gratification by watching out for the other person .…'
To see more from Tracy, visit her channel on TheBlaze.