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Artist, Teacher, Blogger concerned with American culture, its effect on faith and how Christianity effects American culture, specifically, what the word "christian" means to Americans today.

Friday, February 22, 2013

"Owe No Man Nothing But To Love Him"

Well... this is my post for the month of February.  I had planned to write about Valentine’s Day and the meaning of that holiday, and I still may at some later date, but for now...I believe the greatest Valentine’s Day gift I can give any reader is the gift of freedom... freedom from heart ache through the love of Jesus Christ (He is after all the Balm of Gilead), freedom from the opinions of men because no man can serve two masters (Matt. 6:24) and freedom from debt, because the word of God says that we should “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”

Love comes in a multitude of forms.  In Greek, which is a language that was used during the time of Christ and was also used in writing the New Testament, it even has several different words.  According to Wikipedia, there are four words for love: Agape, Eros, Philia and Stroge.

Agape* is love that puts us in a state of wonder or amazement, as with the mouth wide open (with one’s mouth agape).  This kind of love is spiritual in nature, not sexual, and is the kind of love that is most closely related to Christian love... the love that Christ has for us and the love that we have for Him and each other.  This I believe is the greatest love.

The second, Eros*, is sexual love.  The kind of love that exists between husband and wife.  It is the physical expression of their spiritual union.  This word is the root of the word erotic, which has taken on other meanings and I believe is highly and inaccurately over used, but its origin is in no way lascivious or depraved, but actually quite beautiful... and produces life.

The next is Philia*, which is brotherly love.  It can be described as affection, attachment, fondness, tenderness, protectiveness... all the attributes that we use to describe the way we love our family and friends.

The last is Stroge*.  This is the word used to describe that special love parents have for their children.  The kind that can give strength to a parent to perform the seemingly impossible... like the mother that lifts a car off her child (this has happened) or cause a father to train for a marathon, just so he can make his disabled son’s dream of finishing a marathon a reality (
www.teamhoyt.com).  It causes us to go that extra mile... to risk life and limb... for our offspring, so that our “seed shall remain” (psalm 89:4).

Now you may wonder, how does being free from debt fit in with the kinds of love listed above?  Trust me, it does.  It actually applies to three of the four types mentioned... agape, philia and stroge.  If we love our community of believers and the fellowship of the saints (those sanctified by the blood of Jesus) we are going to want what is best for them, which is not to be beholden to anyone or anything but Christ.  Debt is a burden and we shouldn’t want that for them.  We also shouldn’t want that burden for our friends or extended family for the same reasons.  We definitely shouldn’t want that for our children, because “a good man leaves an inheritance” (psalms 13:22), not only to his children, but also to his children’s children.  This is the inheritance to the servants of the Lord... and all those who believe, so why is it that so many believer’s are actually encouraged and in some cases deceived into taking on more than they can handle financially?  I’ve even visited churches where pastors have stated that “God gave them a car loan they didn’t even qualify for”.  Was this really a blessing from God or a trick of “the enemy”... whatever that enemy happens to be: greed, a desire to keep up with the Jones, the desire to impress his congregation, etc... to overburden himself and his family?

It is said that we, as believers, should wear this world as a loose garment, and this is based in part on Mark 4:19, which states that “the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke out the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”  Now I am in no way implying that you should have nothing or want nothing, its just that our desires shouldn’t overtake us... controlling our lives.  Ultimately, everything we want should (and can) line up with God’s desire for us.  

So... in the spirit of my desire to help believers (and myself) love ourselves and our families better, I am including a link to a Mashable.com video  I just discovered: 

Two Guys Create Legit Way To Pay Debt Online for a website called “Ready For Zero”.  The site provides tools and advice for individuals to get out of debt, for themselves and their loved ones, which makes all of us just a little more free. This is my Valentine’s Gift to you... and me :).

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* All definitions taken from Wikipedia and TheFreeDictionary by Farlex (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/)
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